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Second cabin, 

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Cofyright - 1928 * iy 

Printed in the United States 







The big steamer lay beside the dock. Passen- 
gers looked over the rail at the families of peas- 
ants on the pier, waiting to embark. They had 
come from all the Baltic states and stood shiver- 
ing in the wet February air, among their house- 
hold goods. 

Christiansen stood looking at them. He stared 
uninterestedly at the merchandise, as at the people} 
he thought only about himself, about his wife's 
health. A bulky man next him obtruded into 
Christiansen's revery. He waved an enormous 
hand toward the wharf. 

"The labor of half the world has contributed 
to this ship's cargo," he remarked with an air of 
quiet excitement. "Do you realize that far-off 
people have woven rugs, and men in northern 
countries have hunted animals for furs to fill this 



black vessel? Men and women planted fields of 
flax, and wrought intricate embroideries to send to 
America. All the work that men do in the world is 
heaped on this wharf to make the Americans more 

Christiansen, who was still withdrawn into him- 
self, heard the man's voice, sounding almost like 
that of a priest reciting a litany. His imagination 
was lulled by this recitation, and freed, as rhythm 
may liberate one. Now he could see the other 
passengers hanging over the rail, women with 
broad, peasant faces. Other women, wearing 
American clothes, who had been back to see their 
relatives for the first time after the war. 

The two men were at a distance from the other 
passengers. A young girl stopped near them to 
lean against the rail. Her eyes met Christian- 
sen's. She looked at him frankly, a little apprais- 
ingly, as people do who come from small villages, 
and who measure carefully every stranger whom 
they see. 

"This girl is traveling alone," Christiansen 
thought. She looked intoi the crowd searching 
for some one. No one was seeing her off. She 
had no one traveling with her. She was young, and 



wrapped round with dignity against the invasion 
of people's curious eyes. Christiansen felt her 
loneliness and isolation which came to him like a 
distant message that he could hardly hear. He 
felt a vague pity for this girl. Gottlieb, the man 
standing beside him, continued his talk. 

"Nineteen twenty-two is zero hour for Europe. 
Famine and the fall of the mark have finished 
what the war began," he said. "This vessel is like 
a giant magnet. Look at the people it's drawn 
from their homes, going to America!" At last he 
had plucked at Christiansen's imagination. Eager 
to make some one else see what he saw, he had 
conquered Christiansen's indifference, until Chris- 
tiansen gave his attention to the spectacle before 

It was true, he reflected, the vessel was a giant 
magnet for goods and for people. The cargo, dis- 
appearing into the hull, was an inventory of man's 
invention. The ship's company had made long 
journeys in slow-moving trains to try their for- 
tunes in a new country where wages were so great 
that one could hardly credit it, had it not been 
for those who returned to the village, rich j had it 
not been for the steady stream of money that had 



flowed like a never-drying river into famished 
towns and into communities gutted by war and 
disease which, in 1922, were still hopeless in the 
face of ruin. 

The steamer was almost ready for its journey. 
Tenuous plumes of smoke drifted with the wind 
from her three funnels. Her flags flew fore and 
aft. Two triangles of signal flags decorated her. 
Alone by itself flew the Blue Peter, the flag of 

The last bale was stowed. The last trunk was 
wheeled on board. The passengers were sorted 
into first, second and third class, and stood, as- 
sembled, on their various decks. There was the 
rattle of an anchor chain. The whistle roared 
with deafening blasts. The music of a band burst 
out triumphantly. Stewards shufl9[ed past, 
weighted down with luggage. Passengers leaned 
from the decks' railings, tears streaming from their 
faces, waving good-bys to weeping relations on the 
shore. A yellow lane of water widened between 
the shore and the steamer. 

The voice of an old woman lamented: 



"I shall never see her again! I shall never see 
her in my lifetime again!'' 

The voice of a young woman, whose face was 
wet with tears: 

"Don't cry, Mamachen! Don't cry!" 

Serene and proud, the freighted steamer gath- 
ered speed, leaving a wide white wake behind it. 

The smoking-room of the second cabin was 
filled. Every one was ordering beer and 
Schnapps. Fat German women settled them- 
selves in corners with their husbands. Young 
men arranged themselves so they could stare at 
the girls comfortably. 

Two little Russian girls obliterated themselves 
shyly by the sides of their fat young husbands. 
The girls' cheeks were pink. They had enormous 
dark eyes with curling lashes. Their short hair 
fell in old-fashioned ringlets around their faces. 
A Russian painter and his wife sat one at each 
end of their row of three pretty daughters as 
though to protect them from the eyes of the men. 

"We are not second-cabin people," their atti- 



tude proclaimed. "Understand that these three 
girls are not to be looked at by people traveling 
second class.'' 

An old doctor of women's diseases sat with his 
friend, who had married a German woman. They 
had gone to Europe together and made "the 
Grand Tour." The doctor of women's diseases 
was a German who had lived in Chicago for fifty 
years. The bridegroom was an American, and 
was already old. He had been too shy to marry 
in early life and had been a successful farmer in 
Minnesota. The woman the old man had married 
embodied all the German virtues. Every aspect 
of her proclaimed that she was neat, thrifty, pious, 
hardworking, that she had been a good daughter, 
and would be a good wife. She looked at her 
husband shyly and affectionately. 

Next the old doctor sat two middle-aged 
widows, who had been home to visit their people. 
They began talking to him at once, in a friendly 
fashion, as though they had known him for years. 
He was a very old man and suffered from his 
liver. He looked at them humorously as though 
there was nothing in the world he didn't know 
about them. 



Gottlieb and Christiansen had been carried 
slackly into the smoking-room on the tide of 
thirsty people. Christiansen said: 

"This is the first time IVe ever traveled as a 
passenger. When I was young, I crossed the 
Atlantic many times as a seaman." 

"Why are you going to America?" Gottlieb 
asked him. 

Christiansen had been stirred by the spectacle 
of the men and women leaving their homes, 
which had been robbed by war. He answered ex- 

"Why shouldn't I go? Can one make money in 
Germany? Two years after the war, things are 
worse than ever. I have two professions. I'm a 
good mechanic, and I've been mate on beam- 
trawlers. But I've a wife and two children. Can 
I make money for the operation she needs? I'm 
through with Germany! Through! I hate all 
governments! They send men to war. My 
brother was killed by a submarine. My best 
friend was killed!" 

"Look at the people crowding in here," advised 

[ 13 ] 


Gottlieb, hunching his wide shoulders. "Amuse 
yourself on your journey. All the world is in this 

"Why should I want to look at the world?" the 
young man cried. "Civilization has made pigs 
of men. The world has become a slaughter- 
house! I tell you, I'm through with such civiliza- 

"You had better not talk like that!" Gottlieb 
settled himself still more comfortably. He had a 
wide forehead, and wore horn glasses. "If you 
are going to America to earn your living, you are 
very foolish to go screaming such things aloud in 
the smoking-room! Next people will call you a 
Bolshevik, and you won't be allowed to land." 


The room was dense with tobacco smoke. A 
thickset Italian whose long arms hung down his 
flanks like those of a gorilla and who had a tough, 
sensual face, was talking with a young American 

"I been to It'ly to see the oP folks, and I got 
an audience with the Pope!" he boasted. "My 



brudder's got a swell joint off Mulberry Street. 
You'd otta see what he pulls in! It's one o' dem 
joints where folks from uptown comes to. Say! 
you'd otta see what dey spends! Dem uptown 
swells let loose down to my brudder's place, all 

A little Yiddish girl of twelve danced into the 
room ahead of her parents. 

"Oh, Pm so glad we're going home! I'm so 
glad! Say, Europe's a dead one!" Her long 
hair swung about her, and her dark eyes were 
wide with the experience of New York pavements. 
Yet her look was that of innocence and purity. 

"We're going home — ^home — ^home!" 

"Take a slant at dat!" said the Italian. "Dat's 
what we does to 'em in Amurica! She's got IT — 
dat kid! Pep — dat's Amurica!" He took the 
child's hand in his and whirled her round. 

"You'se a bright baby, ain't you?" he chaffed. 
"You'se knows a good country when you sees it." 

"You said it!" she answered with a quick, bird- 
like gesture. "I'm going home — home!" 

"Look at her!" said Lefty. "Dat's Amurica! 
Look at dem!" He pointed to a solemn row of 
men and women who sat drinking their beer. 



"Dat's Europe! Why, dere's guys wot couldn't 
learn nothin' even in Amurica. I been playin' 
cards with dem in dis town for a week, an', God, 
dey want to give you money! An' I play square. 
I'm tellin' y'! Why, if I'd 'a' wanted to play 
crooked — ! Just playin' square^ dis trip ain't 
cost me a nickel!" 

The foreign women and their husbands sat 
quietly. Their eyes were bewildered. Under 
their stolidity they were frightened. They talked 
in their own language to a blond man and a 
woman who had lived in America before. 

"Is it good over there?" one of them asked. 

"I wanted to come," said another, "and now 
I've started, something hurts me, here." She put 
her hand on her diaphragm. 

A big blonde girl sat at one of the tables, drink- 
ing beer. Beside her sat her mother and a 
younger brother. 

"Ma, my vaccination's taking," she said. "My 
arm itches fierce!" Her mother did not answer, 
but spoke to the son. 



"I ain't going to have you order no hard stuff, 
Joe," she said. ^^You hear me\ Look at your 
Pa! You never seen him drunk! Yes, with a 
swell saloon like he's got, you never seen your Pa 
drunk onct! ^Maggie,' he sez to me, 4t's hard 
liquor gets saloonkeepers an' barkeeps. Stick 
to your beer and you're all right!' An' he done 
it. An' look at him now!" She was a fleshy 
woman, with her bosom bulging over an old-fash- 
ioned corset. She spoke to her son as though she 
were imparting a deep knowledge of the success 
of life. 

"Oh, shut up. Ma!" said her daughter. "Joe's 
set out to be stewed and you know it. He's afraid 
of being seasick — Joe is!" 

"He's goin' to stick to beer or I won't pass him 
a piece of change," his mother reiterated, speak- 
ing as a woman whose words have always com- 
manded respect. 

"My arm itches so! That vaccination musta 
taken," the daughter complained again, unemo- 
tionally. She spoke with heavy dignity. There 
was nothing trivial about either woman. The son 
was a gangling young man, self-conscious of his 
hands, and always shoving his cuffs forward to 



cover his red knuckles. His face had pieces of 
adhesive plaster around the mouth. 

"If you think you're goin' to be stewed," his 
mother said, "after you fell downstairs an' broke 
your two teeth and had your mouth sewed up, you 

^^Joe's afraid o' the sea, and there ain't no use 
in tryin' to stop him. He'll be lappin' it up before 
midnight. Ma." 

"No, he won't neither!" said the older woman, 
lifting her fresh stein of beer and drinking it at 
a single draught. The young woman said noth- 
ing at all. The women were like fates deciding 
a destiny over which Joe had no control. 

"Well, what you say. Lefty?" asked the young 
doctor. He was a self-satisfied young man, and 
very plain. Everything about him seemed to stick 
out. His ears stuck out. His nose jutted like a 
pink vegetable from his pimply cheeks. His eyes 
protruded. *He acted superior. He belonged to a 
superior race. He was an American. 

A number of girls wandered into the smoking- 
room. Each was alone. They had the air of 
clumsy beasts of prey. 

"There's a fierce lot o' Mammas on dis tub," 


Lefty warned the doctor. "Keep ofF'n 'em, Pm 
tellin' yuh! Dese Goiman goils 'ud take da fillin' 
outa a blind beggar's teeth. Dey's hungry. Keep 
off'n 'em! Let's start a little game o' stud. 
What yuh say?" 

They sat down to a table with two commercial 
travelers, the doctor retaining his air of superior- 
ity, as though he perpetually waved an American 
flag in the face of other and inferior nations. 

A woman stood at the door of the smoking- 
room, peering in with delighted curiosity. She, 
too, was of a superior race. She was well-dressed, 
though in old-fashioned clothes, which she had 
evidently kept for this voyage. Although no one 
noticed her, she acted as though she were play- 
ing to an audience. 

"How quaint! " her manner said. "What funny 
animals!" She took her place gingerly, as 
though some preposterous chance had put her in 
the second cabin. The boy with the adhesive plas- 
ter muttered: 

"I'd like to give her a shove in the jaw!" 



"I told you Joe'd get stewed. Ma. Bet he's had 
something we ain't seen him have." 

"What's she doin' second cabin?" the boy asked 
fiercely. "Lookin' at us like we was de Zoo!" 

^^ Second cabin y^ his mother said comfortably} 
"she ain't come down here from no foist cabin! 
She's got to travel second cabin. We're traveling 
second cabin when we might go foist, if I was one 
to throw my money out o' the winder. Your Pa 
c'd buy out her folks and not notice he'd done it, 
even with Prohibition an' all!" 

"Sure he could," replied the sister, who was 
scratching her arm. "Joe don't know nothin'." 

A well-dressed young man sat down at a va- 
cant seat at their table, apologizing for his intru- 
sion. He was dark, and good-looking, and his 
clothes were well cut. One leg was stiff and he 
stretched it out straight as though he were adjust- 
ing a mechanical toy. 

"May I offer you ladies something?" he in- 
quired tentatively. The daughter's eyes sought 
her mother's, who replied: 

"Very kind of you, Pm sure." She liked th^ 
young man, and included him into the intimacy 



with the family by saying, "Ain't it fierce! 
Mamie's vaccination has took." 

"Hard luck!" the young man responded with 
his air of courteous diffidence. He felt a liking 
for this mountainous old woman who carried 
about her an air of having always had unques- 
tioned authority and respect. He launched into 
his own story, feeling the need of telling his 
strange and unprecedented experience. 

"I went to Germany to stay three years and 
I'm coming back in three weeks," he announced 
impressively. "I was an officer in the Occupied 
Territory, you know, and I thought to myself, 
^When I get discharged, I'm going back to Ger- 
many and live.' I used to be an engineer before 
the war and there were some experiments with 
metals I could try cheaper over here. Well, I 
came over here and expected to settle down and 
stay three years anyhow. I like the life in Ger- 
many — so comfortable. And that Prohibition stuff 
I struck in America made me sick. I stopped oflF in 
Coblenz when I landed, and had a swell time with 
some fellows I knew. I got down to Leipsic first j 
it seemed to me a nice, thrifty little town. Then 
all of a sudden I didn't have any more interest in 


life. I didn't want to drink; I didn't want to go 
with the fellows I knew. You wouldn't believe it, 
but I sat in my hotel room for a week and didn't 
go out. I felt just fierce." 

He looked from the old woman to her daugh- 
ter as though their capacious bodies might contain 
the answer to his riddle. No psychological prob- 
lem had ever troubled him before. He had no 
answer to what ailed him, and the mystery of his 
own mind oppressed him. Neither of the women 
spoke, but they looked at him with an interested 
kindness that was almost tenderness. 

"One day I said to myself, ^I'm going nuts! 
I've got to get out of this hotel room anyhow!' 
I went out for a walk, and I passed a travel agency. 
Then I knew what was the matter with me, I 
wanted to come home! Why, I hadn't been there 
two weeks, and I wanted to come home! I didn't 
want to go home like people do, generally. It 
was just like I'd been given an order. I went in, 
and asked, ^When's the next steamer sailing?' I 
could have got a boat two days later without any 
trouble. Do you s'pose I'd wait? Not me! I 
didn't stop for my visa in Berlin, even. I came 
the roundabout way. I don't know how I got this 



boat. They said: ^Everybody show passports!' 
I hadn't a visa. I pulled mine out, and they never 
looked at it! Wouldn't that beat you? Ready to 
stay here three years, and I go home in three 
weeks!" He seemed immensely relieved at hav- 
ing spoken, though his words fell as into a 
vacuum. Neither woman had anything in her 
experience that could give him an answer, yet 
their sympathetic presence comforted him. He 
ordered more beer. 


Every one in the second cabin had crowded into 
the smoking-room, demanding beer and Schnapps. 
When the steward passed with his laden tray, a 
mob formed around himj only when he left, the 
ebb and flow of the people calmed itself. The 
chorus of voices, "Here, Kellner! — Here, stew- 
ard!" was stilled. In one of the ebb moments a 
young woman stepped daintily over the threshold. 

She wore a coat of Hudson seal. Pearl earrings 
were set in her ears, and under her open coat was 
a string of pearls. Her little toque of fur was 
trimmed with a bunch of violets so cunningly 



made that they looked like fresh flowers. She 
wore tiny, high-heeled slippers. 

The German hausfraus, even the young girls, 
looked gross and heavy beside her. Yet in com- 
parison to her, their goodness shone out like steady 
hearth fires. The woman wore her paint and 
powder as one might wear a garment. It seemed 
as much a part of her as her carefully undulated 
blonde hair. She would have been pretty, except 
for her sensual nose, which was out of proportion 
to the small oval of her face, and her small mouth. 

The eyes of all the young men followed her 
gluttonously. She sifted the stolid, drinking peo- 
ple through the lens of her blue eyes. They rested 
a moment upon the young officer sitting with the 
barkeeper's wife, son and daughter. She seemed 
not to have noticed a middle-aged man, quiet and 
inconspicuously well dressed, yet she slipped 
through the crowd lightly, dexterously, and seated 
herself beside him. In a moment they were talk- 

"IVe just been to England," he boasted, "to 
buy for my company. We buy nothing but the 
best of cloth for men's clothes. Fm their chief 
buyer — ^and just a few years ago I was an ordinary 


traveling salesman. Now Pm their chief buyer, 
and I go to England twice a year, all expenses 
paid, and a salary that if any one said Vd be get- 
ting it Pd have thought they were crazy!" There 
was a slight burr of a Scotch accent which pene- 
trated through a nasal American twang which 
twenty years in America had given him. 

She fluttered her hands, bright with rings, in a 
little gesture that recalled the applause of a thea- 

"You must be reech!" she said approvingly. 
Her accent was exaggeratedly French. She had 
been told it was piquant. 

"You don't look so badly fixed yourself! " The 
note of approval in his voice matched hers. 
"Those rings, now. I know real pearls when I 
see them!" 

"Geefts of my 'usban'. Pve been 'ome to veesit 
in Paree. My 'usban' — ^what a man! You 
Americans — how generous to their wifes! But he 
ees the most generous of all. It was my — 'ow you 
say- — drem to marry an American. My drem — 
it has came true! I met him in the war time. 
Seence then he has looked at me alone!" 



"And you have looked only at him!" he 

"Of course," she answered, her head coquet- 
tishly on one side, "but my eyes — I keep dem in 
my head." She looked directly into his eyes, her 
eyes of baby-blue with dark lashes, no wrinkles 
around them, yet containing all the wisdom of the 
world, an ancient, long-acquired wisdom. 

Christiansen muttered: "The sight of women 
like that makes me sick. What a civilization which 
breeds such women! No wonder I hate it! Do 
you realize," he cried excitedly, "the amount of 
labor and sacrifice, of hardworking people, who 
have made this woman?" 

"You should accept the world as it is," Gottlieb 
replied, sipping his Schnapps slowly. "The world 
is far more tolerable when you see it and accept 
it. There is no need for you to get so indignant 
at the sight of that woman when there are so 
many like her all over the world. You should 
have a sense of humor, and philosophy." 

"Why should I have sense of humor and phi- 



losophy," Christiansen asked, "when my family 
is ruined, and my wife is lying ill, and when I 
must go to a foreign country to earn the money for 
her operation? I must leave her alone, ill, with 
her children to take care of! When I know how 
the war was brought on and how women like that 
one over there prospered through it! I hate that 
woman and all that she implies!" 

The steward had returned with his tray of 
steins. A roar as of some pent-up obscene animal 
filled the smoking-room. The place was full of 
hands grasping after steins of beer. 

Christiansen muttered: 

"I can't stand this!" As he went he happened 
to glance at the old doctor of women's diseases 
and the two elderly widows who were paying court 
to him. They were giggling over something he 
had said. They were respectable women, but the 
sound of their voices rang indecently in Chris- 
tiansen's ears. 

"Why have I stayed in that vile place so long?" 
he thought. 



Christiansen went out on deck. The ship was 
far from land. The receding shores were humble 
and uneventful in the evening light. The sharp, 
excited feeling that he had always had when his 
vessel was finally separated from the land welled 
up in him. Now for days it would be ship and 

Then his attention was plucked at by the women 
who walked up and down the deck. There were 
girls in pairs, and girls who strolled singly, having 
yet made no acquaintances. All of them had a 
questing air. They looked at him, challengingly, 
or furtively. They made him uneasy. They 
were all out seeking men. These stout girls in 
rabbit-skin coats, made to imitate seal, wanted it 
known they were loose as sand. They had long 
since given up the prewar fiction that they wanted 
to be hunted. 

Christiansen was not very old. He had lived 

at sea. Through the years of war, he had fought. 

Then he had married. In spite of his experiences 

in port, he had a sentimental German atti- 



tude toward women. The music of the Lorelei 
was not far off from Christiansen, it was nearer to 
him than jazz, which he had not yet heard. He 
avoided the bold, furtive eyes of these girls, yet 
their presence made him so uneasy that he con- 
stantly looked at them. He crossed glances with 
a girl, their eyes signaled to each other. Chris- 
tiansen felt as though he had been led into some- 
thing that he had not wanted to do. He turned 
and went rapidly to the other side of the steamer. 

"I know what is the matter with me," he 
thought. "Pm a damned passenger! " Before, he 
had been part of the ship, belonging to the equip- 
ment of fidelity which brings an enormous iron 
hulk across the gray water lanes of the North At- 
lantic. Now he was cargo, part of the human 
freight, which, supine in deck chairs, he had al- 
ways despised. 

He could not bear being a passenger. It shut 
him away from the life of the vessel. It made 
him part of the inactive human cargo. He knew 
of this cargo by hearsay as idle, complaining, slack 
— seasick, too, the stewards had told him. He 
had sat at mess and heard deck hands talk about 
passengers. Now he was one himself. 



He noticed some pimply young men lounging 
along the deck with the air of looking for adven- 
ture along city streets. Behind him rose the 
voices of the more experienced passengers dicker- 
ing with the deck stewards over their chairs. He 
turned his back on the passengers and their silly 
questions of, "Are we going to have a good voyage, 
steward?" "What kind of a voyage did you have 
last week?" The word "seasick" leaped out be- 
hind Christiansen. They were talking about 
whether they were going to be seasick or not, 
already. He moved further down the deck. 

Some one joined him. Without turning his 
head, Christiansen knew it was a woman. He 
stared obstinately out to sea. The person beside 
him coughed to attract his attention. Still Chris- 
tiansen would not look. A plaintive voice said: 

"Are you traveling alone?" 

Christiansen turned. It was the girl whose 
glance had crossed his. He looked at her, startled. 
Her eyes were avid, and blue. She was quite 
young and her hands were red with work, and 



her knuckles were prominent. She had stood 
hunger and cold and hardship through the war. 
She had thriven on it. Probably she was a tireless 
worker, with flail-like German arms, yet there 
was something slack in the way she was built. 

Her ankles were thick, with knobby ankle-bones. 
Her feet were big. Her breasts were placed too 
low, and there was a slightly untidy air about her, 
like a vessel that is sailed by careless men, and is 
never quite shipshape. He saw this in the second 
before he answered her, quietly: 

^^Yes, I am traveling alone.'' 

"So am I," she giggled. "I shan't be alone 
long though!" 

^^No?" said Christiansen. "You have friends 
and relatives there?" 

'^Not exactly," she turned her face half away 
and Christiansen could see that there was a streak 
of greasy skin near her ear where the powder 
stopped. But her ear, which was partly uncov- 
ered, was small and pink and grew pinker with 
the flush that mounted over her face as she said: 

"Well, not exactly relatives — I am going to be 

Christiansen was embarrassed at this confidence. 



"Yes," the girl went on, "and Pm not a picture 
bride, either! My verlobter knew me well} he 
boarded at my aunt's." 

"Picture bride?" Christiansen wondered. 

"Don't you know what picture brides are?" the 
girl asked, laughing. "Why, there have always 
been picture brides! A German boy goes to 
America. He finds American girls are no good 
for work, so he sends to his mother, or some other 
sensible relative who can pick him out a good girl. 
They exchange pictures, and then the girl comes 
over. She cannot land until she is married to him. 
It must be exciting to marry a man you have never 
met! What is your name?" 

"Heinrich Christiansen," he answered sullenly. 
The girl talked with the aplomb of a girl used to 
dealing with men, and he didn't like it. He put 
up defenses, but she broke through them lightly. 

"What a funny name! It isn't a German one. 
Are you German?" 

"Of course," said Christiansen. 

"Oh!" said she, then she reflected: "Well, you 
look German, anyway. My name is Pauline Trau- 
bel, but they call me Poupoulie. Poupoulie! 
Poupola!" she sang, then she laughed her silly 



giggle. She looked over the rail at water sliding 

"Phui ! " she said. "The water makes me dizzy. 
I shall be seasick. I know I shall. Come, let's 
walk." Christiansen turned in silent obedience. 
"Don't you love traveling? I do," Poupoulie 
chattered. "I have never traveled. Have you?" 

"Yes," Christiansen answered. 

"But did you ever cross the Atlantic before?" 

"Yes, lots of times," said Christiansen. 

"Ooh!" said Poupoulie. She looked at him 
with new respect, and took his arm, leaning on him 
slightly. He could feel her warmth, and a slow 
trickle of pleasure went through him. The blood 
pounded in his forehead as though he had taken 
a secret, heady drink. The girl attracted him, and 
this made him angry. He was being betrayed in 
some fashion, by himself and by the obvious and 
coarse seduction of this awkward, sensual girl. 
He wanted to fling her arm from him rudely, but 
he did not dare. 

Poupoulie looked up at Christiansen and 
grinned impudently into his face as though they 



shared some secret. Her look said, "I like you 
and you like me, and we'll have some good times 
together on this ship, won't we?" 

This covert understanding infuriated Christian- 
sen. He looked ahead of him somberly. 

"There are ever so many picture brides on this 
boat," said Poupoulie. "We're all going to have 
a good time before we get to New York — if we're 
not seasick! Don't you want to have a good time? " 
She looked up at him meaningly. 

"I don't like being a passenger! " he said. 

"You're a funny man! Are you married?" 

"Yes," said Christiansen. 

"That's nice," said Poupoulie, and something 
in her tone made him still more uneasy. He felt 
as though he were being let in for something, in- 
vaded against his will. 

The land was only a streak of color. Architec- 
tural clouds heaped themselves up to the zenith 
like some fantastic city. The sea was smooth, and 
looked hard. Already the sea and sky were re- 
mote from land. Its nearness showed only 
through the frequent passing of fishing vessels 
and steamerS;, not from the little ribbon of earth 



that seemed less solid than a cloud, that still barri- 
caded one horizon. 

Christiansen tried to escape, by looking at the 
sea and the sky, from the girl who clung to him. 
Her talk came to him now as though from a dis- 
tance. She was telling him how she intended to 
know every one on the boat — ^but Christiansen had 
escaped from her. 

He walked along in silence for a time, Poupoulie 
making comments on the people. The girl he had 
noticed at their departure, when she had leaned 
over the railing lonely and remote, passed by them. 
She was still alone. 

"That girPs a picture bride!" said Poupoulie. 
This made Christiansen angry, though he didn't 
know why. 

"How do you know?" he said. 

"Why, she told me! Ha! You don't like her 
being a bride, do you!" 

"What's it to me?" Christiansen muttered. 

"That's what I'd say," Poupoulie giggled. 

"I don't know her!" said Christiansen fiercely. 
"I have never seen the girl!" 



"She has never met her verlohter. He knew 
her family and he remembered that there was a 
young girl In the family. He is an American 
citizen and has been a long time in America. 
When the war was over he thought of the village 
he came from, and what a good name her people 
had. But they have grown very poor because of 
the war, and all their men have been killed." 

"How did he find out about this girl?" Chris- 
tiansen asked. The words were drawn from him 
painfully, as though in spite of himself. 

Poupoulie peered at him. She smiled a knowmg 
smile that irritated him. She knew more about 
men than a young girl should, to please Christian- 
sen, and she was yet so young that she let men 
measure her knowledge of them. She had him in 
her grasp again now, and it pleased her. 

"I asked her where she came from, and she 
told me. What do you care about her? You 
are a married man, aren't you?" She grinned im- 
pudently again, and pressed his arm, and he re- 
sponded to this pressure with pleasure and disgust. 

"She is a very nice-looking girl, but, phui! to 
marry like that ! Still it might be exciting to marry 
a man you have never seen, except in a picture. 


But I would be frightened. I said to this girl, 
^Aren't you frightened?' " 

"What did she say?" asked Christiansen. 

"She turned pale. She wouldn't answer. But 
she is frightened. I know my husband is a quiet, 
steady man, not a dashing man, you under- 
stand, but solid. We talked, this girl and I. I said, 
^Don't you remember anything about him?' ^Pve 
tried and tried,' she said, ^but I can't remember 
anything. I don't even remember his family's 
name!' " 

"Then why does she go, if she's frightened?" 
Christiansen asked savagely. 

"What is there else for her to do in Germany or 
Austria, now?" Poupoulie answered. "A German 
girl who is unmarried would be a fool not to come 
to America with things as they are at home!" 

America, it seemed, could commandeer any- 
thing. Men went over and grew prosperous and 
called women who had never seen them overseas 
by a postage stamp and a piece of paper. America 



could call them as it had called the merchandise 
and the people who filled the ship. Roaring and 
prosperous America could suck everything to it 
until it was afraid of being inundated by its very 

Poupoulie and Christiansen turned in the middle 
of the deck. The girl crossed by them. She 
looked at Christiansen quietly, a little doubtful, 
as though half recognizing a friend, and half being 
afraid of having been mistaken in her recognition. 
Poupoulie shook his arm. 

"When you are walking with me," she said, 
^^you can't get so excited about another girl! Pay 
attention to me! " She crowded close to him, con- 
fident of her power over him. 

Christiansen looked about him for a means of 
escape. The girl held him fast. He didn't wish 
to be paraded before this other girl by Poupoulie. 
He had never felt so trapped. He was caught so 
fast that only the notes of the bugle, announcing 
dinner, could release him. 

"Dinner!" cried Poupoulie. "Ach!" She 
dropped his arm. "You have to get places, you 
know," she called over her shoulder. 



The people swarmed down to dinner. There 
was an air of eager haste about them which they 
tried to repress, and which they could not con- 
ceal. How much they wanted to be decorous! 
How little they could conceal their ravenousness 
for good food! Food was scare for years after 
the war. The sense of the mob spirit was like a 
web about them. If some one had rung a bell, and 
shouted, "Only the first hundred will feed!" there 
would have been a panic with people trampled 
under foot. As it was, they held themselves in 

Gray-haired women, lean men whose clothes 
hung loose about them, because once they had had 
paunches, were jostled by famished young girls 
and men. 

There was no need to fight. There were places 
for all, food for all. Only the impatience of 
those a little in the rear. Only the little shoving. 

Presently, all at the first table were seated, and 
those who belonged at the second table had gone 
back to deck and cabin and saloon. Gottlieb and 
Christiansen had planned to sit together. Opposite 



them was a man from a little Kentucky town, who 
looked like a Southern Colonel. He was a Jew 
who had been home to visit German relatives. 
For thirty-five years, he had had a store in the 
town where he lived. He had been able to aflFord 
anything he chose to eat in Germany, and ordered 
his food sparingly. 

Around him were people trying to conceal their 
voracity. They were hungry people from starved 
towns in the Baltic states. People who had done 
without dainty food for years. People who had 
never had dainty food. People sent for by their 
relatives, who had lived on bread, and meat once 
a week when times were good. Now they could 
eat all they wished. They could eat rich food. 
They ordered chicken and pork, sweets and gravies. 
Their faces grew ugly with gluttony. They 
squared their elbows high and shoved great pieces 
of meat into their mouths and drank great steins 
of beer. 

The hum of conversation grew low. They ate 
their thick soups noisily. They clutched at the 
meat. Some had never seen such a meal, and the 



more fortunate ones had almost forgotten that such 
meals existed in the world. Men and women 
stared at the menu, as though not comprehending 
it was all for them, these entrees and roasts and 
salads and meats, several kinds of each. You 
could order them all. You could die of a surfeit. 
A blessed death! 

The underworld man, Lefty Finko, sat near the 
pimply doctor. 

"Chees!" he said, "Chees! Look at dem guys! 
Dey're getting ready for de liver-ache all ri', all 
ri'!" He ate substantially himself, but with the 
restraint of an Italian accustomed to food enough 
always. He ate as the doctor ate, with the care- 
less indifference of Americans who had never 
known the gnawing of empty bellies. 

The people round them wallowed in food. As 
though drunk with plenty, they ordered more and 
more. They ate noisily, as though to proclaim to 
the world that they were feasting at last after the 
lean years when war and famine strove to see 
which could snufF out life fastest. 

On the faces of young girls, there spread a look 
of horrid avidity. They ate as if hypnotized, con- 
centrated on this magnificent, sudden, unexpected 



vision of food. All kinds of food! Delicacies 
from everywhere. Delicacies from America! 
Delicacies from the East! Delicacies with a solid 
foundation of beef, mutton and pig. Ice cream! 
You could order five plates if you wanted to. And 
the steward would bring them! 

Christiansen heard one young girl saying 
timidly, to a gray-haired woman, 

"Mamma! Mamma! Your stomach! You'll 
be sick if you eat like this! " The woman answered, 

"What do I care!" 

Christiansen was hungry himself, but the sight 
of these gluttonous, ravenous people choked him. 
They were his people and he loathed them. They 
wallowed shamelessly in the pleasure of eating. 
This was not eating, this was debauchery! 

"God!" he said, under his breath. "What 
swine!" Gottlieb looked at them pityingly. 

"They're not swine," he said, "but people who 
have been hungry a long time." They spoke in a 
low voice, because there was no sound at their 
table beside the crashing of knives and forks, and 
the noisy eating of food. 



The empty smoking-room had leather seats all 
the way around it, with tables before them. In 
the center of the wall, opposite the door, under the 
clock, was a piano. There were folding tables 
which could be put up for cards. The place looked 
like a cafe with portholes. During dinner, the 
steward cleaned it, and wiped the Schnapps and 
beer from the tables. In spite of his cleaning, a 
smell of beer, like that of an old saloon, clung 
to it. 

The heavily-fed people began ebbing back. 
Food and drink had made them sociable. Some 
older men with beards talked quietly together in 
one corner. You could tell which were American 
and which were German by their paunches. The 
prosperous paunches of the Americans laughed at 
the lean waistcoats of the Germans. The Amer- 
icans came from New York State and from St. 
Louis and Chicago, and from small towns in the 
middle west. They had become prosperous there j 
they had taken out citizenship papers j their sons 



had fought in the war against their German 

"My children do not speak a word of German," 
one old man boasted. 

"Nor mine," said a woman standing near. 
^^They won't listen to it, though Poppa and I 
often speak together. When we speak to them in 
German the children are ashamed. After all, no 
wonder, we're the only Germans in town. We 
have been there so long no one thinks of us as 
Germans — nor we, until we couldn't write again 
to our brothers and sisters." 

A thin woman who still did her hair after the 
fashion of the late Kaiserin, said: 

"I went to visit my poor sisters, and my poor 
mamma. What a change! I really cannot live in 
Germany any more! Not only the unstable state 
of the people, and the food, but after our con- 
veniences at home . . . !" 

"You can't keep house! No gas for cooking! 
Such bathrooms, if any! No hot water! " 

"Yes, and no cars! Where we live, southern 
Illinois, every one has a car. If the boys have our 
car, Mrs. Pfeifer or Mrs. Johnson take me shop- 



"No. We cannot live in Germany any more, 

Their eyes sought each other, and they shook 
their heads. They had been speaking in English, 
shutting out the patient German women, who sat 
on the leather seats, listening dutifully to their 
husbands' talk. 

"Since you have cousins there, you should really 
have no trouble. Of course, younger men adapt 
themselves better than we old fellows — ^but with 
all your relatives! And you say your brother is 
in the piano business, and your cousin in automo- 

The German-Americans calmed the vague fears 
of these middle-aged men who were uprooting 
themselves after the years of war, to try to recon- 
struct life in what had suddenly become an enemy 
country. Those who had stayed in Germany did 
not recognize this. America had always been 
friendly. How many dollars had come from 
there! How many letters! The brief entry of 
America into the war had left no hint of hostility 
in their minds. Their brothers' children had been 



born in America, and grown up there. It seemed 
to them a friendly, prosperous land, but very 
large and formidable. 

There was a pause — one man said: 

"You play Scott?" 

With common consent they sat themselves pon- 
derously round a table, the lean men sitting 
down with the precaution of men accustomed to 
spread their legs wide apart to balance their heavy 

The women sat in a row. Knitting and em- 
broidery appeared from bags. They looked up 
sharply at the young girls and pressed their lips 
together. One of the American women began a 
variation on the lament of the older generation. 

"How German girls have changed since I was 

"Frightful!" agreed the German women in 
chorus. "Frightful ! " 

"Oh, if you could have seen what it was like! 
A mother can be thankful to have no daughters 
to-day! See that!" 

The women lifted their eyes and looked 
eagerly toward the door. Three young girls stood 
swaying in the doorway, looking round the room, 



with bright, eager eyes. They were awkwardly 
dressed. Their hair was done elaborately. They 
all wore paint, but they did not know how to put 
it on with art. The eyes of the older! women 
shone, as though reading in a forbidden book. 
Their solemnly shaking heads, their relaxed 
mouths and gleaming eyes did not agree. They 
took a savage, secret interest in the careers of this 
wild young generation. One woman started a 
voluble account of the terrible doings of a family 
who had lived near her in Nuremberg. 

A young man came up to them. "Good eve- 
ning, Mrs. Koch,'' he said. He was a young Jew, 
who had been negotiating for fine lenses in Vi- 
enna. He was prosperous and well dressed in 
good American clothes, and he had bought more 
good clothes abroad. He had traveled to the 
sea coast with these older people. 

"This vessel is a scandal!" he began. The 
older women's eyes were fixed greedily on him. 
He talked rapidly as though outraged and in- 
dignant. "Here I am, a married man, cutting 



my business short to rush home for the fifth an- 
niversary of my marriage. I walk along the deck 
quietly, by myself, thinking of nothing but my 
wife at home and my little boy," he fumbled in 
his pocket and produced a picture; the women 
took it and passed it quietly from hand to hand. 

"J^> j^' A fi^^ boy! A beautiful woman, 
your wife!" 

"With my hands in my pockets I walk along 
the deck. A young woman speaks to me. What 
of that? You speak to every one when travel- 
ing! And I walk up and down the deck with 
her. She is a married woman and her husband a 
Pittsburgh steel worker. She has been home to 
visit. Her husband has made the money for the 
visit, and for her return, and Heaven knows what 
he will have denied himself, poor fellow! *I 
want to have a good time on this vessel!' she 
told me. ^You are a nice-looking fellow. You 
look as though you want a good time going 
back — ' Going back to her husband, and she says 
this to me!" The older women sucked in their 
breath, their eyes bright. 




"Horrible!" said their voices. "Tell me more! 
More! More!" said their eyes. 

"Yes! And no sooner did I get rid of her," 
he continued, "and stand by the rail looking at 
the evening light, when a young girl comes up 
to me. This one is going to be married. ^I 
know what these Germans want,' she said, ^when 
they send to Germany for girls to marry. They 
want women to work! I am able to work, and I 
am willing to work, I expect to. But a boat is 
no-man's land. I am not at home. I am not in 
my husband's home.' Think of that! That is 
where you are! This is no-man's land! Where 
a decent fellow going home to his fifth anni- 
versary can't walk on the deck! I might be on 
Shotten Ring of the Linden Allee for all the 
peace I have! There you expect such things, 
there you look for it!" 

The women clucked their tongues, horrified. 
But their eyes were eager and inquisitive. The 
eyes of the young man who talked to them were 
eager also, he had been excited by his adventures, 



and he was irritated that he must remain faithful 
to his wife during the voyage. He would be 
ridiculous in his own eyes if he should fall into 
an adventure when he was returning home for 
a fifth anniversary. It was all very well when 
he was on business in Vienna. A man on business 
in Vienna is not expected to be a hermit. But 
he had become a conscientious husband from the 
moment he had started toward his wife, and these 
girls had irritated and aroused him, so he talked 
about them. 

"The boys in my stateroom are quite as bad," 
he informed the older women, who were now all 
bending forward and gazing at him in attitudes 
of absorbed listening. "When I went down to 
comb my hair for dinner, ^Well, have you found 
a girl?' said one of them. ^I am looking them 
over,' said another. The boy over there is the 
one — ^with the freckles. ^There is something 
about that girl we spoke to which tempts me, but 
her feet are too big.' ^Feet! What do you care 
about feet!' And they all shouted. What do 
you think of that! That's the kind of fellows 
I have to room with! See! There's the girl 
they were talkjng about!" He pointed at Pou- 



poulie, who was smiling stupidly, standing in the 
center of the group in the doorway, her arms 
around two other girls. 

The older women shook their heads and waited 
for the indignant young husband to tell them 

"What a ship!'' he concluded. "Where the 
young men and the young women have all come 
on board with such plans all made!" 

"Incredible!" sighed Mrs. Koch, her hands 
across her tight corset. 

The doctor of women's diseases and the two 
widows were sitting at the next table, and they, 
too, were listening to the young man's recital, the 
doctor nodding benignly as though hearing a pa- 
tient tell her symptoms, knowing that he could 
have foretold each detail, so often had he lis- 
tened to similar stories. The two widows, indig- 
gant. The old American from Minnesota, with 
his German wife, blinked innocently at such un- 
accustomed talk, his wife shrinking from it, and 
yet absorbed. All of them turning the battery 



of their eyes on the adventurous young women, who 
were looking about for partners for an ocean voyage. 

Lefty swung out on the floor with the Jewish 
East Side child. 

"We'll show 'em how to dance, kid!" he said. 

The little girl tossed back her hair. She 
skipped about with the lightness of a child who 
has danced on New York sidewalks. He had the 
balance of a Latin, and the rhythm of an East Side 
New Yorker, used to cabarets. 

The Russian brides left their husbands' sides 
shyly, and danced together. The husbands, who 
had fat legs like sausages, watched them with ex- 
pressionless, unblinking eyes. The sisters danced 
all the way over, living in another world, and pay- 
ing no attention to the drama of the second cabin. 

The picture brides and the other girls began 
by dancing with each other. Presently they found 
men partners. Between dances they drank beer. 
Flushed and laughing, they took a turn on the 
deck with their newly-discovered partners and 
came back, still more flushed and breathless. 

Moe Rapp, the young married man, watched 
them. He sat with the married women, frown- 
ing at the girls, noting their swift excursions into 



the darkness, commenting upon it to the interested 
and disapproving women whose husbands had 
started their interminable game of Scott. 

The saloonkeeper's wife, and her son and 
daughter, talked with the young officer. 

Already it was decided who the people were 
who^ would get their amusement through care- 
ful scrutiny of the others' acts, and condemnation 
of them. 



After dinner, Christiansen stood looking over 
the high side of the ship. He knew these waters. 
When he had sailed them in a beam-trawler or 
crossed the ocean as part of his life, they had 
been important to him, they meant something. 
Now they were only scenery, a background for 
the human beings swarming up from the dining- 
room, or hurrying down to the second table. 
Weather was of no more importance than are the 
rails of a railway. He turned from the sea and 
watched the well-fed passengers with slack interest. 

Presently, the girl who had stood by him when 
they sailed, walked along the deck. She still 
seemed aloof and lonely, and as cut oflF from the 
rest of the company as Christiansen felt himself 
to be. He felt sorry for her. She was going 
to an unknown land to marry a stranger. He 
followed her down the deck with some vague idea 
of making her acquaintance because she was lonely 
like himself. Like himself she was driven out 
of her home by the disaster of war, forced to 



leave her people and take up life among stran- 
gers through the bidding of necessity. 

When the girl stopped to look out at the dark- 
ening sea, which lay gray and monotonous as a 
flat pavement, he stopped also. They stood, both 
thinking their own thoughts, yet somehow to- 
gether, shut off from the other people on this 

Men in pairs pounded up and down, taking 
their constitutionals. Girls laughed stridently as 
they walked, arm in arm. Poupoulie and a 
group of picture brides played tag, with their 
eyes on the young men. Rapp, the virtuous young 
man, eyed them disapprovingly, but he stood near 
enough to the unmarried men to catch all they 
had to say. 

Christiansen and the girl stood beside each 
other in silence. He felt comfortable and as unem- 
barrassed as if he had been talking to some one 
he knew. The girl turned to him at last and 

"I hope we have a nice journey!" 

"I hope so," said Christiansen. 
I 55] 


"They have storms at this time of the year,'' 

"Yes," said Christiansen. 

"I don't think I should mind a storm," con- 
tinued the girl, "I am used to them, they come 
up so swiftly in the mountains where my home 
was before the war." 

"Where did you live?" Christiansen asked. 

"In the Austrian Tyrol, close to the Italian bor» 
der," she answered, "but when the war came my 
mother and I went to live with my grandmother 
in Germany. My father was dead, and the boys 
were all in the Army." 

Christiansen waited. 

"They were all killed," the girl added after a 
pause, as though explaining to herself why she was 
on this ship, going to America as a picture bride. 
And Christiansen felt for her a sudden gush of 
pity. He did not know what to say, he was left 
without words. 

Into their silence and isolation bustled Lefty. 
He came up close to the girl and crowded against 
her and began an animated conversation in Ital- 
ian. The girl answered him in monosyllables. 
Presently she turned and nodded vaguely to 
Christiansen, and walked off with Lefty. 


Time on shipboard passes very slowly when 
you are a passenger, Christiansen found. It 
moves so slowly that in twenty-four hours you 
can form an intimacy that on land would take 
months. He was walking on the deck, past the 
mummied forms of the passengers in deck chairs, 
looking at them curiously and contemptuously 
from the vantage point of a sailor who under- 
stood the swaying of the deck. While he 
looked at these people he worried about his sick 
wife at home, and thought with bitterness of the 
evil times which had driven him out of his own 
country and made him a passenger. 

Ahead of him a woman walked with free 
strides, as though she had lived far from town, 
and was used to walking. Christiansen was lonely 
and worried, yet he was filled with the spirit of 
adventure. The woman ahead of him was a beau- 
tiful woman, with wide, hard breasts, and splen- 
did flanks. Her fair hair was wound round her 
head again and again. Christiansen's mind 
swayed lightly, like the deck of the vessel, toward 
the thought of his wife, the grub-like passengers, 



whom he despised, and the woman ahead of him. 
He played with the thought of her glittering hair 
hanging loose. 

He could not have told whether she spoke to 
him, or he to her, as they met in the door of the 
smoking-room. She stood beside him, robust and 
young; presently she was telling Christiansen: 

"I have been over with my father and my 
mother to the old country to visit the old people, 
who live in Nuremberg. My husband stayed 
home in America.'' She opened her mouth and 
laughed, showing her strong white teeth which 
looked as though they were meant to bite great 
pieces of coarse bread and chunks of meat. 

"I had a fine time over there, I can tell you! 
There is nothing slow about you German men!" 
She looked at Christiansen appraisingly, with sly 
eyes. It was as though she was displaying her- 
self before him, tauntingly, from her heavy crown 
of hair to her handsome, compact body. Sud- 
denly the little flicker of desire for her died in 
Christiansen. She looked to him like a fat, 
healthy pig. Like a greedy, calculating animal, 
casting its eyes over its food before feeding. She 



was SO aggressive, and he did not know how to 
defend himself — and she was strong. 

He saw Poupoulie in the corner of the smok- 
ing-room. She sat slack and relaxed} her red 
hands were spread out before her on the table. 
Her big feet in their clumsy shoes were stretched 
out a little. There was something appealing and 
child-like in her awkwardness, and she seemed 

"I must speak to that young lady," he said hur- 
riedly to the robust blonde girl beside him. 

Poupoulie's prominent blue eyes had been dull 
and lifeless. They brightened at Christiansen's 
approach. She welcomed him as if he had been 
an old friend who had come to save her from 
loneliness and ennui. 

"Isn't traveling queer?" she greeted him. "I 
walked on the deck with you one time, for a few 
minutes, yet I have been looking for you as though 
I had known you always!" There was nothing 
in Christiansen's life that made him know that 
all girls say these things to men. He was sur- 



prised, touched, and at the same time, uneasy. 

"This is the first time,'' said Poupoulie, "that 
I have ever been idle in my life. I am always 
expecting to hear my aunt calling to me, ^What 
are you doing? Have you finished this or that?' 
I jumped in my berth last night, thinking I heard 
my aunt calling!" 

"Did you always live with your aunt?" asked 

"Yes," said Poupoulie. "She brought me up. 
She was a very strict, stern woman. We kept 
lodgers. Quite a big apartment, you know, and 
young men lodged with us — students. My aunt 
knew this was dangerous for a young girl, so 
she watched me. How she watched me! She 
was a very strict old woman, and she beat me 

"Beat you!" cried Christiansen. 

"Oh, yes, indeed," said Poupoulie. "Why 
not? I might have grown up to be a bad girl if 
she hadn't beaten me, because I am naturally very 
wild, and even my aunt's beatings — !" She 
laughed to herself, keeping Christiansen out of 
her confidence, as though she had secret and pleas- 
ant memories. 



"When I was little I used to be so furious, I 
could have killed her! One time when I was 
quite a big girl I flew at her. She tied me to the 
bedpost and beat me still more, until I screamed so 
the whole house could hear, then she said, ^This 
is just a taste o£ what you will get if you are not 
a good girl, and do not behave yourself!' 

"When I grew older, and grew to know more 
about myself" — she giggled again — "I learned 
how right my aunt was. The man I am going to 
marry was one of our roomers. When he saw 
that I had been crying, he would almost cry him- 

" Toupoulie,' he'd say, ^do try and act in such 
a way that your aunt won't beat you! I cannot 
bear it when I hear her!' They were all sorry 
for me, but such beatings do not hurt you, you 
learn to know that, and that thev are for your 
own good." 

Christiansen's face was hard and set. He hated 
this old woman. He knew her kind, and he de- 
spised Poupolie. 

"I would have run away!" he said. Poupoulie 
answered in a reasonable tone. 

"I had no other home, and I tell you my aunt 


was quite right! For see what happened! Herr 
Kader, the man I am going to marry, went to 
America. He took out his citizenship papers at 
once, before the war, and that was lucky for him! 
He made money enough, and one day he wrote 
to my aunt. How we felt when we got that let- 
ter! Food was so hard to get, fuel was poor — 
and he asked my hand in marriage! He wanted 
a girl who had been brought up strictly, a good 
girl. My aunt said, ^You see! When half the 
girls in Germany can never marry, a nice man 
who has made money asks you. He knows how 
you have been brought up — ' " 

In the smoking-room, the hum of talking and 
the crash of beer steins went on about them. 
Christiansen wanted to get away, for without 
wishing to, he had formed an intimacy with Pou- 
poulie. And Christiansen did not wish intimacy 
with any one. The crossing was no more than 
a hyphen which joined his life in Germany and 
his life in America. Both meant hard work. He 
looked round with a helpless stare, as though in 



spite of himself he had been cast away on an un- 
inhabited island with this homely girl who knew 
how to attract men. 

She intended to have a good time on this voy- 
age. She said so. This voyage was a hyphen 
for her, too, between hard work and hard work, 
and she wished to make the most of it. He looked 
at the blonde woman with hostility; she had gotten 
him into this! Then, like the rushing of a cool 
wind, the thought came to him of the girl who 
had walked off with the underworld man. This 
girl wasn't like the others, there was something 
clean about her, and innocent. She did not know 
the meaning of the underworld man, she did not 
know the meaning of anything that was going on 
around her. Christiansen felt suddenly that he 
should find her and that harm would come to 
her if he did not. 

He looked through the crowd painstakingly. 
The saloonkeeper's daughter was playing crib- 
bage with the young officer. Her mother was ar- 
guing with her brother j her voice, with its New 
York twang, rang out in the buzz of conversation. 

"Go on to bed, Joe, that's a good fellow! You 
know you're tired, Joe! Go on to bed, Joe!" 


The boy sat sullenly hunched into himself, ob- 
stinate, resisting his mother, while he tried to 
get the eye of the waiter so as to order another 

The smoking-room had crystallized. People 
had found their various levels. The old men 
started their game of Scott 5 the young American 
men, the inevitable poker game. Unattached 
men and women danced together, and between 
dances walked on the deck where they hid be- 
hind boats. There, with their backs to the 
promenaders, they fancied themselves unob- 

Christiansen watched the changing crowd with 
a vague sense of illusion. Near him a man was 
talking loudly j his words pierced Christiansen's 
abstraction. He was saying, 

"Here's where the fun is! I could be easily 
first cabin if I wanted to, but here's how they act 
— stiflF, disagreeable — they don't know how to 
have fun! Everybody afraid of everybody else. 
Look at us down here, second cabin, we get 
acquainted, the first day we dance, we sing, we 



play cards together! Catch me going first cabin!" 

"It is true," the others nodded. They looked 
at the prosperous man approvingly. He had put 
into words what they all felt. 

Gottlieb wound his way among the dancers and 
sat down beside Christiansen. 

"Did you hear that?" he said in a low voice. 
"These people here dislike and fear the First 
Cabin. They dislike it so much that they pretend 
to be better!" 

"Why should they?" asked Christiansen coldly. 

"Why shouldn't they?" answered Gottlieb. 
"They are the small business men, the shopkeep- 
ers and buyers, they serve the First Cabin. The 
First Cabin makes and breaks them in business. 
They are dependent on the First Cabin when they 
are on land, so they talk about them. When they 
are not talking about each other, they are talking 
about the vices of the First Cabin people!" 

Poupoulie leaned forward in an attitude of 
fixed attention. She had cultivated this stare 
when men in her aunt's lodging house talked 



about things she did not understand. She said in 
a low voice to Christiansen, 

"Introduce me to your friend!" 

Gottlieb looked at Poupoulie with a sudden 
flame of curiosity, but Christiansen's eyes had 
found the girl who had gone off with Lefty. She 
swung onto the floor, dancing with him. She did 
not know his method of dancing, but she had bal- 
ance and rhythm, so she followed him. 

"Fine, kid, fine!" Lefty told her. "Fine! 
Youse'll get it right off! Yuh got the making of 
a dancer! What you need is a drink." He sat 
down at a table and ordered cognac, and the girl 
drank with him. 



The music stopped. Elsa Holweg, the girl 
dancing with Lefty, stood beside him near the door 
of the smoking-room. A panic seized her. What 
was she doing here? Who were these people? 
Where was she going? "I ought to go to bed," she 
thought. A sensation as of extreme cold crawled 
up her back. She had to go to bed in a room with 
three strange and terrifying women. She couldn't 
face it. She looked around for reassurance. Op- 
posite her sat a little smiling old woman. Her face 
had the ruddy color of a peasant. Elsa joined 
her. The old woman, sipping her light beer, 
chirped a welcome and continued humming in tune 
to the music. 

"Tum-te-tum-tum, tum-tum, te-tum," and 
tapped with her foot. From time to time she 
would mutter, "And to think I should ever, that 
I should live to see this! Like a palace floating, 
like a fair! Dancing, like my niece, Greta, said 
they had in great hotels — and I sit and see it. 
My son wrote for me to join him in America!^ 



How much money he sent me. What a sum! 
Where I live, you know, I take my son's letters 
to Frau Pastor Shultze's to be read. What a gar- 
den! I tell you in Frau Pastor Shultze's garden 
there is everything that is in the Garden of Eden, 
all but the tree and the serpent. But, by my brook 
there grew forget-me-nots of a size that not even 
she can have!" 

It was as though Elsa's mind was split in two. 
Through part of it flowed the picture of the smok- 
ing-room. Stolid men playing Scott. Women 
knitting. Girls and men dancing. The other half 
of her mind was centered on a single appalling 
fact. She had no nightgown! How often her 
grandmother had exclaimed: 

"We must make you nightgowns! Where you 
are going they are sure to wear nightgowns! " But 
in getting together her slender trousseau always 
they put off making nightgowns, deciding to buy 
them in town. In the hurry of departure, they 
had somehow forgotten to buy them. Now she 
was rooming with these strange women and she 
had no nightgown. The old woman prattled on. 

"Frau Pastor Shultze read my son's letter. ^He 
wishes you to come to him immediately! You 


must learn to read and write at once!' Frau Pas- 
tor Shultze said. I felt like a top. My head spun 
round and round. ^At once we must begin your 
lessons.' At my age! Learn to read and write! 
How could I? Tut your trust in God,' said Frau 
Pastor Shultze. Tor him all things are possible.' " 
"I must go down to bed," thought Elsa. The 
idea of going to bed made her rigid with fright. 
How could she undress, how go to bed with strange 
women? The beautiful American woman she had 
glimpsed in the stateroom — she had cast over Elsa 
a swift appraising look, which even now made Elsa 
hot all over. She looked like a country girl. Why 
shouldn't she? She had never minded towns- 
women looking different from herself. They were 
far-off creatures, belonging to a different worlds 
Now her world and the townswomen's world met 
in the small confines of a stateroom. 

Old Frau Grube's voice flowed along happily. 

"She got me a book of A.B.C.'s then and there! 
Tose no time!' said she. All the funny little let- 
ters! Like black insects! I never looked at them 



before. All the town was helping me to read and 
write. The children would come to hear my les- 
sons. The school teacher! I passed through one 
grade after another. All the town was watching. 
Grandma Grube was learning her lessons. How 
proud I was when I could first print my name. 
What a delight when I could read the letters, say- 
ing the sounds slowly, then a word would come 
out! Reading is like magic, my child. A good 
magic and you who have read all your life know 
nothing about it!" 

A picture of a German village formed in Elsa's 
mind. Grandma Grube with blue eyes and red- 
apple cheeks and a thousand wrinkles and white 
hair with the people of the little German town 
watching her. Elsa could see the kindly familiar 
people, the Herr Pastor and the school teacher, the 
doctor, all helping the old woman. 

^^Sometimes," said Grandma Grube, "I would be 
thinking I dreamed it. In the middle of the night 
I'd wake up and light my candle. Such waste! 
Pd never done such a thing before. I would take 
out my spelling book and by candle light read ^rat,' 
^cat,' ^mat,' and put my light out. It was true. I 



hadn't dreamed I could read." She smiled con- 

It was as if the innocent miracle of the old 
woman's learning to read and write, the picture of 
her village, and the forget-me-nots that bordered 
the stream near her house, entered comfortingly 
into Elsa's heart. She felt something kind and 
good between herself and the old woman. She let 
this current flow through her gratefully. In the 
strange and lonely confusion of the ship she had 
found friendship. Frau Grube talked on, guile- 
lessly. It was as though she had lived in a world 
where the cherry trees were perpetually in blos- 
som, or the fruit had just ripened. She seemed to 
have outlived any knowledge of evil or as though 
evil had passed her by. 


Christiansen had been out on the deck. As he 
came in, he went directly over to Elsa and to Frau 
Grube and sat down. The old woman smiled at 
him with her twinkling eyes. She was glad of a 
new listener and began to tell her story over again. 
Elsa sat back feeling easy and protected, glad of 



Christiansen's presence. For a while she forgot 
that she had planned to creep into bed before the 
others. Then with a leap of her heart she re- 

She sped through the creaking corridors con- 
scious that the stable world of steel was slanting, 
slowly and dubiously, beneath her feet. The cry- 
ing and groaning of the ship echoed in her ears. 
Deep within her was a fear that had to do with 
the crashing of these unfamiliar noises. She had 
looked out of the smoking-room door for a mo- 
ment, before going below. The noise and rushing 
of waves came to her, a new sound in her world. 
The ship talked in a thousand tongues. As she 
turned into the stateroom, something rose up and 
hit the porthole violently. 

"What was that?" she cried. The three other 
women laughed. The woman standing up in the 
middle of the floor said, 

"A wave." Elsa had a sinking sensation, a sen- 
sation of nightmare and nakedness. They were all 
there, all three of them. In the middle of the 
floor stood the beautiful American woman. Elsa 
stared at her stupidly. She wore a nightgown, in- 
deed, but what a one! It was made of silk crepe 



de chine } she had thrown over it a long silk 
kimono. She sat down on the edge of the berth 
and began taking off silk stockings and a sheer pair 
of pink bloomers, pink silk underwear throughout! 
She got up and moved tranquilly around the cabin, 
her long hair falling about her. 

The cabin was spacious and had two wardrobes 
and two wash basins. In the summertime it ranked 
as first cabin instead of second. The handsome 
chintzes with which it was hung gave it a luxurious 
aspect. The American and the woman in the lower 
berth continued their conversation. They spoke 
formally but with kindness. 

"What a pity," said the American, "that you 
cannot have a cabin with your husband upon your 
wedding journey." 

"We hadn't intended to be married until 
spring," said the German woman, who, though she 
was a bride, looked middle-aged, "then the doctor 
wanted to sail and suddenly we decided." The 
miraculous quality of her wedding, starred with 
strange coincidence, so filled the bride's mind that 
soon her story flowed out. 

"It was so strange a thing, so strange, that I 



should meet my husband as I did! If I had broken 
my leg three days sooner I would not have met 
him at all — ^just before I broke my leg. Dr. Grimm 
brings him to call! How like my father was Mr. 
Murray! My heart stood still! A year before 
my father died! There was never in the world 
such a man as he. He went out one morning and 
at night they brought him home dead. You can 
imagine the shock when I, sitting in our home, saw 
some one resembling my blessed father! Mr. 
Murray and I sat and looked at each other, be- 
cause we could not speak. He had no German and 
I no English. I could not take my eyes away from 

"This is the first time Pve left my husband," 
Mrs. Hassenberg, the American woman, said ir- 
relevantly. "I got so homesick I couldn't stay any 
longer in Europe. ^Stay, at least, until you find 
out about the passport,' said my husband. I said, 
^That's very well for you. You telephone your 
mother every morning.' We live in Vienna. 
^Every morning you can telephone your mother in 
Berlin.' He does that, my husband. He wakes up 
early while the rates are still on." 



Elsa Stood, not knowing what to do as her room- 
mates made each other these confidences. In the 
upper berth opposite hers, a woman was rapidly 
undressing herself, taking off layer after layer of 
gray flannelette underclothes. She had deep-set 
yellow eyes with golden flecks in them. Her sud- 
den nose jutted out inquisitively and her chin 
dropped away from beneath it. Her eyes, yellow 
like a cat% were black with mascara. 

There was a wash of liquid powder over her 
face and bright pink rouge was spread over that. 
On her shapeless kind mouth a large cupid bow 
was painted in scarlet. H-er scrawny yellow neck 
supported this painted face. The powder was ap- 
plied unevenly and left toward the ears patches of 
grayish-brown skin which looked as though the 
grime and dirt of months had been ingrained into 
it. Her hair was cut short and frizzed at the sides. 

This make-up gave her a strangely ingenuous 
look. There was something pathetic and gallant 
about it as though it said mutely, "See, I am a 
middle-aged woman who has had a pretty hard 
time of it, but Pm not bragging about that. I 



hold my head up and put on some pink and white 
and red to say nothing of the black around my eyes. 
And that covers up most of what Pve been 
through, doesn't it?" Her painted face peered 
through the opening of a gray flannelette night- 

"WeVe all nationalities in this stateroom," she 
commented. "One of you ladies is an American 
citizen, though she's a German and doesn't speak 
a word of English. And the other lady — ^what are 
you?" she said. "Are you Austrian or are you 
German?" The American woman looked up at 
her. She had violet eyes rimmed with brown 
lashes and Elsa thought her beautiful as an angel 
in her flowing garments, her full throat bare as if 
going to a party. She smiled a little wanly and 
considered before answering. 

"I don't know what I am. I'm an American by 
birth, but by nationality, I don't know whether I'm 
an Austrian or whether I'm a Pole. I won't know 
until after the plebiscite. My husband's techni- 
cally the resident of a village in Silesia. You see, 
he's an Austrian. He started to get his naturaliza- 
tion papers. Then the war came, so he hasn't been 



able to finish his naturalization. We went abroad 
with our six-months alien residence passports. 
When we applied to the American representative 
for renewal, he couldn't do a thing for he didn't 
know what we were. When the plebiscite is taken, 
we may have to have Polish papers." 

"Ah! " cried the woman in the upper berth. "I, 
myself, am a Polish citizen. My father was an 

"You don't look like an American," said Mrs. 

"Oh, my dear, Pm not. Who knows what I 
am? I was born in France before my father be- 
came an American citizen. He was a Frenchman 
by birth, you understand. I eloped with a Russian 
baron and now I'm a Pole!" The three women 
laughed. They were delighted with their discov- 
eries about each other. Each one had changed her 
nationality. It was like a preposterous mas- 
querade. There was something kind and friendly 
in the room and something uncomplicated, such as 
so easily exists among simple women who have 
neither rivalry about men nor position to trouble 



Elsa felt less agonized, soothed by the atmos- 
phere of friendship in the room. The American 
turned to her and said kindly: 

"And you, Fraulein, what are you?" Elsa was 
surprised to hear her voice telling them in confi- 
dent tones about herself. 

"You are young to be traveling alone," the 
bride said kindly. "You're joining your relatives 
in America? " Elsa looked away. 

"I'm to be married on my arrival," she said in 
a low voice. 

"Oh, we're bride bringers," said the bride. 
^^Good luck for us! " They all included Elsa now, 
exclaiming over her. The bride was sitting up in 
bed. She had on a nightgown which came up to 
her neck and was edged with embroidery. The 
long sleeves finished in a band edged with em- 
broidery also and the full long garment of heavy 
material was gathered into a yoke, over which she 
wore a pale blue flannel sacque, scalloped by hand 
in silk around the edges. She had two dozen such 
nightgowns. It had been a relief to the family 
and to herself that she could plead the long jour- 



ney and the high price of cloth in Germany for 
making so slender a trousseau. Only two or three 
dozen of each garment, but made to last, she 
thought complacently, as she glanced at the fragile 
garment of the American. 

"Do you want the steps to get up to your berth? 
Shall I ring for the stewardess?" asked Mrs. Has- 

"Thanks, no, I can climb up," said Elsa timidly. 
She had an awful compressed feeling weighing her 
down. The terrible moment was approaching 
when she must confess she wore no nightgown. 
She started for her berth. 

"You'd better hang your dress up before you 
climb," the elder woman advised her kindly. 
Fiery red, Elsa managed to struggle out of her 
dress and to hang it up. She did not know whether 
to take off one of her petticoats or not. She de- 
cided not to. She slipped her heavy shoes from 
her gray stockings which she had knitted by hand 
herself. With a strong easy gesture, she drew 
herself up to the sanctuary of her upper berth. 
The two brides exchanged approving glances which 
meant, "How pretty she is!" All four women 


Second ca bin 

felt content, each glad that they had German- 
speaking women for roommates. 

Their light was out and they lay considering 
their anxieties. 

"What will I find in America?" they questioned. 
"Will I be allowed to land? Will I be able to 
see my mother?" Mrs. Hassenberg thought. She 
was obsessed by her anxiety. The Frenchwoman 
thought perpetually, "How will I safeguard my 
inheritance from my son and my husband?" None 
of them had any security, not even the bride. Elsa 
could hear her talking across the stateroom. 

"I don't know a single soul in America, not one. 
I think of that great country with all the people 
there, and not one person will be there who has a 
familiar face for me. I think about it all the 

"And," thought Elsa, "I think all the time, what 
will my husband be like?" She remembered his 
letter. He had written to her grandmother. "You 
will remember Liidwig Gratz. I am the grandson 
of your old friends, Hans Gratz and Amalia Baum- 



berg. I remember you very well when I was a 
young lad." So he had begun and he had asked if 
there was not a young girl in her family whom he 
could marry. Then he described himself. "I am 
five feet six-and-a-half inches tall. I weigh a little 
over one hundred and fifty pounds. I am not fat, 
but stocky and go often to the Turnverein. I am 
a bachelor, thirty-eight years old, and would look 
younger if I were not getting a little bald. I go 
to the Lutheran church and I am old-fashioned in 
my notions. I want children and wish to found a 
home, which I have not had since my dear mother 
died three years ago. I want a home of my own 
and a pious girl who wishes to be a real wife. She 
must not be taller than I am though I do not care 
if she happens to be skinny for I know what Ger- 
mans have been up against in the Blockade.'' And 
he inclosed a copy of his Income Tax return to 
show he was making good money. 

Then with the keenness of a knife cutting 
through her, Elsa realized her situation, not only 
with her head but with her very entrails. She was 
on a ship in a room with three women whom she 
met to-day for the first time. A sense of the 
strangeness of this, of the enormous change in all 


her life, pressed down on her, suffocating her. It 
was as though her narrow berth were a grave and 
she lay straightly in it, the realization of where she 
was permeating through her, binding her, clogging 
her down like earth. She could not get away. 
The beating of the engine like an iron heart told 
her that. She tried to take this feeling away by 
thinking about the room she was in and the strange- 
ness of it and how in the next room were gathered 
chance-met people and in the next. Cubicle after 
cubicle of strangers thrown together in curious 
combinations. There was the perpetual sound of 
footsteps past the corridor. The smoking-room 
was being drained of its people. Elsa's ears, with- 
out understanding, registered the sounds repeated 
in three different voices, two women's voices and a 
man's voice. 

"Oh come on, Joe, come on! That's a good boy, 
Joe. Come on! " 



The doctor sat with his two widows. On one 
side of him was his old friend, Mr. Murray, and 
the bride on the other side, and he smiled ahead 
of him, a gentle smile that had an element of 
triumph in it. He had managed to keep the 
ladies from pouncing one on each side of him. 
Beyond them, Moe Rapp sat stiffly, his head 
propped against the smoking-room wall. Pres- 
ently he nodded and suddenly lurched forward 
against one of the ladies. He waked up with a 

"Pardon me! Pardon me!" he apologized. 
^^The sea makes me sleepy, especially the second 
or third day out. You will wonder why if I am 
sleepy, I do not go down and sleep in my cabin. 
Ha! well, you may wonder! I am turned out 
of my cabin! A pretty story! You know there 
are two brothers rooming with me, the Stengel 
brothers. Nice looking chaps, curly hair and 
frank blue eyes — the kind that were little angels 
a few years ago, ^Say, old chap,' they said to me, 



^are you going to be needing your stateroom this 
afternoon?' And I — I was so surprised I stared 
at them. I did not answer. ^Because/ Karl Sten- 
gel — ^that's his name — went on, ^we're to have 
visitors and there will be nowhere to ask the ladies 
to sit except the lower berths.' Yes, ladies, that's 
why I'm nodding and falling asleep on your 
shoulders here in the smoking-room! The Sten- 
gel brothers are entertaining the ladies in my 
cabin. It's a wonder the ship allows it.'^ 

"You say women are in your stateroom?" Mrs. 
Opp leaned forward. She was a comfortable 
woman, her flaccid breasts fitted into her old- 
fashioned corset like two bowls of jelly. Her 
face was pointed and alert and her iron-gray hair 
was parted in the middle and drawn over her ears. 
She crimped it with kid curlers each night. Be- 
side the other widow, Mrs. Pincus, Mrs. Opp 
looked fragile. 

Mrs. Pincus was wide and square. She looked 
like a massive bundle. Her shining smooth brown 
hair was parted in the middle and done in a little 



knob on the top of her head and she wore a cameo 
brooch and long earrings. There was a repose- 
ful air as of a former more leisurely age about 

Fascinated by Moe Rapp's lament, they leaned 
forward, each at the same angle and repeated: 

"Girls in your stateroom, Mr. Rapp?" 

"Already?" added Mrs. Opp, indicating that 
this perhaps at the end of the voyage might be 
expected, but at the beginning, it was really too 
much. Mrs. Pincus leaned forward across Dr. 
Grimm, who sat peaceful and smiling, his long, 
delicate hand with its heavy blue veins lying on 
the round table before him. 

"Mrs. Murray," Mrs. Pincus whispered, "hear 
what Mr. Rapp has to say. Turned out — ^girls in 
his room. The young men, his roommates, bring 
women there." 

"I knew it!" The spinster-like lines on her 
face deepened. "I knew it! Oh, such things as 
I have seen during the war! These are the Ger- 
man girls! If you had worked in the Red Cross 
as I did among the prisoners! Oh, what hap- 
pened in the prisons! The English prisoners got 
rich parcels, I can tell you! When I walked on 



the deck last night, I shuddered. With my arm 
through my husband's, I shuddered. Bold as 
brass the eyes of these girls — hard as nails." 

The old farmer sat smiling vaguely around the 
smoking-room. He had understood nothing. He 
got up as old Mrs. Grube came uncertainly into 
the smoking-room. She almost ran into Lefty. 

"Here, Mamma," Lefty said, "you take ahold 
my arm." The old woman put her hand trust- 
ingly in Lefty's and smiled at old Mr. Murray. 
"The old goiPs pins is wobbly," Lefty explained. 
"Ain't dey. Grandma?" She twinkled at him be- 
nignly and sat down, making a place for Mr. 
Murray. He felt comfortable and happy with 
the old lady. They both were gentle and inno- 
cent and thought no evil and both of them beamed 
upon Lefty, as though he were their son. 

It was as though Moe Rapp's words, "There 
were girls in my room," had exploded the little 
group apart. Mrs. Pincus went over to a com- 
pany of middle-aged German women who were 
coming to America for the first time. She sighed. 


"What a ship! When a young man is turned 
out of his room, because his roommates bring girls 
to the stateroom!" 

"Girls to the stateroom! Noo, noo! Tsh! 
Tsh!" They had been sitting, dull and sluggish 
and sad. Their eyes brightened. 

Mrs. Opp sat down beside the woman from St. 
Louis, Mrs. Heflinger, who was talking with 
Madame Wazliski and the Jewish storekeeper and 
some German-Americans. 

The doctor released by his ladies went out on 
the deck, while the bride who was looking around 
for some one to whom she could pass the suc- 
culent information, saw Poupoulie and Elsa talk- 
ing together and beside them some other picture 
brides and the woman from Pittsburgh. Pres- 
ently a shout of laughter arose from that corner. 
The Pittsburgh woman laughed first and Pou- 
poulie tittered, then Elsa. The bride's face grew 
red, then she also laughed and this laughter was 
echoed as by a wave from the other side of the 
room from Madame Wazliski. 

Again it was as though there had been an ex- 
plosion. The groups all dissolved. Madame 
Wazliski joined the Russians and rapidly told 



them the news. Lefty hurried out after Poupoulie 
and Elsa to ask, 

"What's up, goils?" The news rolled from 
person to person, up and down the decks. Peo- 
ple met each other to exchange gossip. 

The Frenchwoman, Mrs. Horace Darrow, was 
walking on the deck by herself. Captain James 
Hurley stood by the railing, looking over the 
uninteresting sea. Mrs. Darrow leaned near him 
and began talking with him about the picture 
brides in the Stengel boys' stateroom. 

Mrs. Donovan missed Captain Hurley, crossed 
the smoking-room with heavy, lurching steps and 
plumped down beside her son and daughter. 

"Where's James Hurley?" she demanded, ex- 
plosively, as she let her eyes rove around the 

"I don't know. Ma," said Joe, flushing. 

"You do so, Joe," said Mamie. "He's oflF 
walking with the Frenchwoman with the poils." 

"He is not!" said Mrs. Donovan. 


"He is too, Ma," said Mamie, whose face was 
flushed from her vaccination. 

"Pm going to get him this minute," said Mrs. 

"Ma, you're never!" 

"Pm going to march right up to him, Mamie, 
and lift him off of her. Pm not going to sit by 
and see no such woman as that throw her hooks 
into Captain James Hurley. Pve seen too much 
of whores. My husband's own cousin, Mike 
Donovan, went West and married a woman out 
of a house and instead of being grateful, as 
any one would suppose, it seems as if she got 
the habit. If she'd want a piece of joolry orra fur 
coat or something, she'd go out and get her a 
man. So Mike Donovan killed her." 

"Killed her — how did you know he killed her, 

"He drowned her," said Mrs. Donovan. "He 
went out in a rowboat with her in a lake and they 
was tipped over and she was drowned. He had 
to do something. He couldn't sit by and have 
things going on like they was." She sighed and 
put a hand on each knee and rose heavily. 

She returned after awhile, Captain Hurley be- 



hind her. They were laughing together and 
would not tell Mamie and Joe their joke. Cap- 
tain Hurley had made his peace with Mrs. Dono- 
van by telling her about the girls in Moe Rapp's 

Moe Rapp's news had spread all through the 
smoking-room groups. The men at the card 
tables, the ones playing poker and those playing 
Scott, each laughed about it in their different ways. 
The Finns and the Russians and the Poles and 
the wide, fresh-faced Lithuanian women discussed 
the decay of morals. Every one's sense of life 
was heightened. 

The two girls secretly in Moe Rapp's stateroom 
were the heart of the boat. The bleak winter 
day seemed warmer. There was more purpose 
now in the meetings of the young men and the 
girls. The girls' eyes sparkled as they talked 
with new acquaintances. An intimacy had been 
established, a link between different groups. The 
young people and the older ones drew further 
away from each other. 



Poupoulie and Elsa came back to the smoking- 
room together. "That Fritzie Shoevelson will 
not be long a virgin if she keeps on — for that's 
what she told me she is. She's in my stateroom 
and the first thing she said to me was, ^Pm a vir- 
gin, are you?' And I answered, ^Of course, I 
am.' " Poupoulie gave a little meaning laugh. 
"Maybe," she said, "she was lying just as I was." 

"You were lying?" Elsa asked interestedly, not 
knowing what to say. 

"Yes," said Poupoulie, "I had a sweetheart 
once, right under my aunt's eyes, right in our 
house. And now he's dead. He was a young 
Divinity student. Oh, so sweet a boy. Pale 
golden hair which flowed back from his high, noble 
forehead and beautiful pale blue eyes and such 
a white face, like marble. And also he had a 
cough. My aunt was sure that he had consump- 
tion already when he came to us. I would bring 
his chocolate in the morning. Often, I would be 
crying. He would put his arm around me, so 
gently. There never seemed any harm at all 
in anything he did. After a time I would sit on 



his knee and he would stroke my hair like a 
brother. He was so gentle. Everything hap- 
pened so naturally. It was he who was shocked. 
^What have I done? What have I done, Pou- 
poulie?' I comforted him. I said, ^ You haven't 
done anything.' What a silly thing to say under ^ 
the circumstances. ^Pve seduced you!' he said. I 
almost laughed in his face. He looked like a 
little boy with his round blue eyes and his pale 
golden hair and his narrow shoulders. But I let 
him have it his own way. You see, the kind of 
girl I am and how well my aunt did to beat me, 
for I did not feel sorry, not at all! How I cried 
when he went away, for he was taken sick. He 
brooded about what he called our sin, but I never 
felt sinful. Wasnl that strange?" 

"Yes," Elsa murmured. She was fascinated 
at this account and embarrassed. She had always 
supposed that girls who had sinned felt remorse- 
ful and wept. 

Elsa and Poupoulie were so absorbed that they 
did not notice Mrs. Rivers who walked in her 



tentative way across the room and sat down beside 
Lefty. He had followed the girls into the smok- 
ing-room and sat staring at Elsa. Mrs. Rivers 
felt at home with the underworld man. It was 
like slumming. 

"Well, how are you fixed for your room, now?" 
Lefty asked. He had seen her complaining to 
the purser that she was rooming with Polish peas- 
ants who put grease on their hair. 

"Oh, Pm with some nice clean German-Ameri- 
cans, now," she answered. 

"That's good," said Lefty. "What do you say 
to a little drink to warm you up this cold day?" 

"A port," she murmured. "Only it must be 
Dutch." It was all very well to talk with under- 
world men but she felt it was not right to have 
them treat her. 

"Dutch!" said Lefty. "Quit yer kiddin'! 
Why, I wouldn't let a woman pay a check that 
was sittin' at my table! I'd shove a woman's 
face in who tried to pay her own check! Hones', 
There ain't nothin' on God's oit c'ld make me 
let a lady pay f'r her own drinks when I wuz 
sittin' at the table wit' her! Not if I had to clean 
up the whole ship, I wouldn't!" He spoke ear- 



nestly and for once without a smile. It was his 
code. He was deeply hurt. He leaned toward 
Mrs. Rivers, for emphasis put his hand upon her 
leg, shoving himself close to her. He meant as 
little offense as an animal who nuzzles close for 
warmth, but she felt it was more respectable to 
move away a little. He ordered a second port 
for her and a third. 

Her eyes grew moist. Her mouth relaxed and 
seemed to grow bigger. A look of rather young 
happiness flooded her face. As if behind her 
thousand gentilities a simpler and more amiable 
person peeped out. In her turn she swayed 
lightly toward Lefty. 

"Say," he said, looking at Elsa, "am I batty, 
or has she got It? Dat skinny, brown-faced girl, 
with the red lips. Hones', dat goil, I can't keep 
my eyes off ur. That's what comes o' playing 
cards too long all ri', all ri'. I was so busy in 
Bremen takin' de dough offen dem Nordics, for 
a coupla weeks I didn't look at a goil! I didn't 
know day was goils in de woild. Say, she can 
crawl into my cabin whenever she wants to. Like 
de picture brides! Didja hear about de picture 



brides — down in the Goiman boys' cabin? Didn't 
lose no time!" 


Gottlieb sat in the smoking-room, feeling as 
though he were watching a pattern weaving itself 
together, the meaning of which he did not yet 
know. Groups of people were drawn together 
into a design that had the firmness of crystal. He 
went out on the deck, feeling as though he were 
going in search of an answer to some problem. 

Like caterpillars in their cocoons, people lay 
stretched out on the deck, some with heavy cups 
of tea in their hands and pieces of ship's bread 
and some with their cups already set down beside 
them. In front of them walked processions of 
people, two by two, around and around the ship 
they went. Walking, Gottlieb reflected, like 
horseshoe crabs in an aquarium. 

A thin drizzle of rain swept over the deck and 
made it slippery and moist. An old deck hand 
slowly passed his squeegee over it. The drizzling 
mist shut the horizon in. All about was a dull, 
uninteresting, slate-colored sea, a cold and sullen 



sea. The people huddled in their rented steamer 
blankets looked pinched and cold, and the girls 
in their heavy coats, mufflers around their necks, 
had red noses. Now a girl walking along would 
look fixedly at one of the men and she would stop 
and look over the rail. Soon the man would join 
her. Girls hailed their partners of the night be- 
fore. The ship had paired off. People lying in 
their deck chairs stared at the procession that 
rotated past them. 


Gottlieb leaned against the rail and talked to 
the old deck hand who stopped his slow mopping. 

"Gets monotonous, it does," he remarked. 
"Hevery voyage like hanother. There they go. 
The picture brides, the 'usbands, the wives. I 
wouldn't trust a dove wot 'ad been a arf hour 
aboard a ship like this! I see too much! I don't 
trust none of them — not my own girl! While I 
mop the decks I watch 'em. Nothin' else to do. 
Hevery voyage the same. Hevery one's differ- 
ent. When you were a kiddy did you ever 'ave 
a kaleidoscope? You looked through a 'ole on 



a pattern of colored glass, pretty as a stained 
glass winder. You turned it — click! All the 
same colors and a different pattern. Hevery ship 
voyage like that, the same an' different. Look 
at 'em! Not forty-eight hours out and all paired 
off like the hanimals goin' into the Hark! ^ 'Ow 
you can go on,' my mussus says, when I tell her 
about it. ^Wot do you expect? Male and female, 
created He them, didn't he?' ^Yes,' says I, ^and 
don't you get sick of it? Sick and tired of it? 
You swab a boat a v'yage, my girl, and tell me 
where you think the world's a-comin' to with you 
females and males.' " 

The old man had innocent blue eyes and white 
hair and his face was cheery and red and brown. 
He looked sound as a winter apple. 

"Males and females — I 'eard from the deck 
steward there's some of 'em a-goin' on already 
in one o' th' cabins — ^well, it's none o' my funeral 
— all I got to do is to rout 'em out o' th' boats!" 

The old doctor of women's diseases. Dr. 
Grimm, came up to Gottlieb as he leaned against 
the rail. 

"I've escaped from the ladies," he said. He 
had recently lost several teeth, Gottlieb observed, 



as the old man smiled genially on him. He wore 
an old-fashioned fore-and-aft traveling cap with 
ear-lappettes tied over the top which he had pre- 
served for many years for sea-voyages. A gray 
shawl was wrapped around him. His ears were 
long and had little forests of hair growing in 
them. "Will you take a constitutional?" Gott- 
lieb and the Doctor fell into the procession. 

"The sexual instinct, you will see," he re- 
marked, "is in evidence on the boat. The in- 
trigues and the love aflFairs are already in full 
swing. The ladies were so agitated by the news, 
I could make my escape. The Stengel brothers 
are entertaining ladies in their stateroom, already. 
It takes a virtuous woman to be so deeply excited." 
He smiled benignly at Gottlieb, and added in the 
unctuous tone of a physician, announcing, "Mother 
and child are doing well," — "The ship is already 
divided into the Goods and the Bads. The Goods 
will vicariously enjoy the Bads' actions all the 
way over." 

"There's the answer," said Gottlieb. "There's 
the pattern. The pattern is the Goods and the 

"Most instructive," said the old Doctor. "In- 



structive if not edifying. If you wish to observe 
all the vices of the small town, here they are. 
Before your eyes you can see the young ladies 
going astray, being seduced and seducing. The 
infidelities, the intrigues, the world of Goods and 
Bads is spread out like a map in the Second Cabin." 


Mrs. Hassenberg did not get up for breakfast 
or lunch. She wasn't seasick but she was spir- 
itually tired, and very worried. The future 
looked black to her. She wondered if she would 
be allowed to land, whether they would not over- 
look the irregularity of her passport. This ques- 
tion occupied all of her mind. 

She perceived the world outside her cabin but 
dimly. She was good and she was affectionate, so 
her roommates interested her. As she lay there, 
she thought about their lives and their destinies. 
Finally, after lunch, she decided to get up and 
asked the stewardess to draw her bath. 

She drew aside to let Moe Rapp pass her. 
"How cross he looked," she thought. For even 
with her absorption with herself it was impos- 



sible not to recognize this man's irritation by the 
furious way he charged down the hall. 

The sea-water in the bath was the color of an 
aquamarine against the opaque whiteness of the 
bath tub. Mrs. Hassenberg lay there luxuri- 
ously, watching it tilt this way and that, shifting 
jewel-like over her pink body, balanced exquis- 
itely to the slight rocking of the vessel. She lay 
a long time, watching it, preoccupied always with 
the question of her landing. From time to time, 
a surge of homesickness would come over her, 
of true nostalgia. She felt, literally, that she 
would die if she were not allowed to land. She 
slipped into a dark blue crepe de chine kimono 
and came outside. 

Mrs. Rivers was standing there about to light 
a cigarette. She didn't consider it genteel to 
smoke in the smoking-room. She had never ap- 
proved of smoking in public although it was now 
being so generally done in smart restaurants in 
Europe, but here in this middle-class environ- 
ment, where none of the women smoked, except 
Mrs. Hassenberg, she did not wish to make her- 
self conspicuous, and as she could not smoke in 


her stateroom, she came to the ladies' toilet after 

"I suppose you think Pm foolish," she said, 
waving her cigarette coquettishly. "If you'd been 
up there, I wouldn't have minded, but with all 
those creatures staring at you like cows! What 
a company! You know that nice-appearing Jew 
who's just been in Vienna — ^you've talked with 
him — turned out of his room, my dear, by his 

"Turned out?" asked Mrs. Hassenberg. 

"Yes," said Mrs. Rivers, shaking her head. 
"So they could have girls in his cabin!" The 
news had raced around the ship and had come 
back to her during the time it took her to bathe, 
Mrs. Hassenberg reflected. 



The sky hung low over the sea, ominous, 
clouds pressing down heavily. The sea looked 
cold. Heavy black seas shifting, sliding, topped 
with breaking foam. Seas of shining waves like 
heavy glass. The horizon, jagged with distant 
waves, dancing, savage. There was a perpetual 
noise in the air, wind howling, booming along 
decks, crash of doors, throbbing of engines, en- 
gines like a heart beating. Like a beetle the 
steamer slid and sidled over huge rollers like 
black glass. A chip on the sea, a shining black 
beetle, sliding over the sides of eternity. 

Every one had eaten too much and few people 
were used to the sea. There was now a persistent 
steady roll. People stopped talking, women lay 
down. A yellow pallor spread over faces. Peo- 
ple in deck chairs told each other their symp- 
toms. Now and then, a man or a woman would 
rush for the smoking-room door, only to lean 
over the rail. The fellowship of the Goods^ soli- 
[ 102] 


darity was disintegrated by a growing misery, each 
one striving in his own way to forget the motion, 
those who held out despising those who were 

The rocking of the boat continued, without in- 
creasing. The ones easily seasick were in bed or 
wrapped in steamer chairs. Those who feared 
seasickness were banging on pianos, playing cards 
or rushing around the decks. Some started drink- 
ing methodically. Those who were not seasick 
felt triumphant. A few experienced sailors had 
not noticed that the deck had begun to shift. 
Christiansen and Gottlieb tramped around the 
deck together. 

^^Once I was a syndicalist," said Christiansen. 
"Pm still a member of the Marine Transport 
Workers and now, ideologically, Pm a Com- 
munist." He paused. 

"You are a party member?" Gottlieb asked. 

"No!" Christiansen exploded. "Pm nothing. 
I'm through with the Movement! " Gottlieb gave 
a knowing smile. 

"You young fellows always say that periodi- 
cally. When the revolutionary movement slack- 


ens, you act as if your sweetheart was unfaith- 

"I mean it," said Christiansen, with his sup- 
pressed violence. His face grew pale and his 
eyes dark with his emotion. "Pm a Revolution- 
ist of action, not a teacher. What can we hope 
for now in Germany? The revolution's dead! 
What leadership have we in Germany since Lieb- 
knecht and Rosa Luxembourg were murdered? 
What became of the March action? Tell me!" 
he flung challengingly at Gottlieb. "Don't you 
agree with me?" he demanded in a low, furious 

"I agree that the revolutionary moment is past 
for the present," said Gottlieb quietly, "but I 
know if you are Communist you will not be con- 
tent out of the movement." 

"What are you?" demanded Christiansen. 
"Are you a Communist?" 

"I'm nothing. I've never been anything," said 
Gottlieb. "I'm an anomaly. I was brought up 
with Marx for a Bible, but the contemplative at- 
titude of the Chinese is my natural moral climate. 
I seek the pleasures of friendship and the tran- 


quil contemplations of philosophy and nature with 
the same diligence that a true revolutionist seeks 

They were glad of each other's company. Glad 
to get away from the seasick people and from the 
Goods and Bads. Christiansen liked the older 
man and enjoyed reassuring himself that he was 
through with the revolutionary movement. He 
had the feeling of freedom and at the same time 
of disillusion of a man who has been betrayed 
by his sweetheart whom he still continues to love. 

As they walked around the deck, Elsa, joyful 
and alone, beat her way against the wind. She 
was delighted to find that she was not seasick. 
Her misery of the day before had gone, together 
with her loneliness and embarrassment. The 
women in the cabin were kind. There was 
Grandma Grube, whom she liked. She could al- 
ways stay with the old lady, whenever she wanted 
to. She smiled at Christiansen shyly as she passed 
him. There were footsteps behind her and Lefty 
joined her. 



"I have been looking for you," he began, then 
he walked along in silence beside her. His Ital- 
ian had a different intonation from any she had 
heard. "Take my arm," he said. She shook her 
head slightly and quickened her pace. At this, 
without annoyance, he took hers. "You are a 
beautiful girl," he mentioned. "You must have 
Italian blood with your small head and big, dark 
eyes and that long, red mouth like the pictures 
one sees." Talking Italian he was another per- 
son. He was at once more insinuating and more 
sexual and less vulgar. "You come from the 
mountains, don't you?" 

"Yes," said Elsa. 

^^I would know it," he said. "Did you tend 
sheep on the mountains when you were little?" 

"Yes," Elsa said again. "I used to drive the 
sheep and also the goats up the mountainside. 
Then we'd take pieces of cloth and put them on 
little pieces of flint we found and pretend that 
they were dolls. From where we sat we could 
look far off. Then the men went away and dur- 
ing the war it was hard work. We worked in the 
fields all the time." 

"You look like it," he said. "You are lean and 


brown and look as though you had always stood 
with the wind blowing in your face and yet you 
are not a peasant." 

"No," Elsa answered. "Not exactly, though 
IVe worked in the field as if I were one." 

"Do you like the city?" he asked. 

"I don't know," said Elsa. "IVe never lived 
in one. When I left Sagensberg, we went up 
into the Hartz mountains, and I liked it, also, 
though we were very poor. It was not so grand 
as my own country, but more secret. There was 
something like magic in the woods there." Sud- 
denly she was oppressed by the sense of change. 
A few days passed and all the old life was gone. 
She had lived so inclosed a life she had not lived 
at all. Now suddenly she was alive. Lefty felt 
her absence and pulled her back to him by a pres- 
sure on her arm. She turned to look at him. 
The warm admiration in his eyes was exciting. 
He excited her and wanted her. As they passed 
away from the wind in the shelter of a deck 
house, he stopped and kissed her, tentatively and 
gently. She turned her head away and walked 
swiftly down the deck, Lefty beside her. 

Now she had the heady feeling of doing some- 


thing delightful and forbidden. She looked to 
see if any of her roommates were abroad, but 
no. Mrs. Murray had returned to her old hus- 
band in the smoking-room. Mrs. Hassenberg was 
reading and suddenly she saw Christiansen's eyes 
upon her and she flushed red as though he accused 
her of something and, dropping Lefty's arm, ran 
into the smoking-room and sheltered herself by 
Grandma Grube. 

When Fritzie Shoevelson and Trudchen Zug 
came up to the smoking-room, Madame Waz- 
liski and Mrs. Rivers glanced sideways and raised 
their eyebrows. Madame Wazliski's painted eye- 
brows were humorous and not unsympathetic. 
Mrs. Rivers had the non-committal air of a true 
Good who would not even stoop to savor the 
girls' indiscretion as the Frenchwoman did so 

There was not a convention Mrs. Rivers did 

not have. She looked vaguely younger than her 

age, forty-five. It was as though when eight 

years before she had gotten a divorce, she had 



Stopped aging. Life had stopped. Yet she was 
dated and belonged definitely to a prewar period. 
Her gentility was prewar. She had never gotten 
over the shock of being a divorced woman. She 
did not approve of divorce, and weakly, weakly, 
she had let her husband have one. Since then 
she had drifted slackly around, supported by a 
meager alimony. Bermuda, war work, Europe, 
and each experience gave her less satisfaction than 
the last. Her isolation and her fear did odd 
things to her. On the Riviera, she had drink 
brought to her room when she was not feeling 
well. She never admitted to herself how much 
she took. Her liberated mind would float out 
on imaginings that left her weak and slack and 
which she afterwards forgot. 

She told nothing of herself and made no confi- 
dences to any one, so occupied she was in assum- 
ing that super-respectability which is termed gen- 
teel. The boat left her very lonely. She could 
no more imagine talking to the passengers whom 
she privately referred to as "these people" than 
she could have talked to the barnyard creatures 
on a farm. They seemed to her to belong to a 
sub-human species. 

[ 109 ] 


She was glad of the company of the homely, 
vivacious Frenchwoman, who over her gray cot- 
ton flannel underclothes wore a black satin dress 
and a fur coat. She liked the way she pro- 
nounced her name, Madame Re-vairs. It gave 
her name distinction. She wished that she could 
pronounce the other woman's name as charmingly, 
but she knew she would only bungle it. 

"How do you spell your name?" she inquired. 
"It is a difficult name for strangers to pronounce." 

"It is a difficult name for any one to pronounce. 
I've only had it for a little while. I do not feel 
as if it were my name at all. After being called 
Baroness for so many years it seems strange to 
go to Madame. Call me Baroness!" she said im- 
pulsively. "My first husband was a baron. I ran 
away when I was a young girl and my father had 
to give his consent to our marriage. What a fool 
I was! We lived in Moscow. My husband gam- 
bled, my money, his money! And women! 
Finally, he paid almost no more attention to me 
and yet every time he would come home, he would 
laugh and kiss me and I would be glad to see him 


and before you knew it we would be having a 
bottle of champagne together! Things got so 
bad I had to give French and German lessons. 
I would tramp through the snow every day to my 
pupils. Oh, how sick I am of giving lessons!'' 
She threw her head back and exploded the "Oh ! " 
so loudly that Mrs. Rivers started. "Lessons in 
Moscow! Lessons to the Bolsheviks! Oh, do 
you know what it is to live under the Bolsheviks?'' 

"No," said Mrs. Rivers. "It must be ter- 

"Terrible beyond words! So serious and noth- 
ing to eat! But luckily the country where I was 
was captured by Denikin. Then by the Bolsheviks. 
Later we were recaptured by the Whites. And 
lessons again to your adorable American officers of 
the A.R.A. But never again will I have to give 
lessons! Never, never! Do you know why?" 
She leaned forward on the table and turned her 
gaze upon Mrs. Rivers, who sat looking refined 
in her brown tailored dress. She had bought it at 
a very good place in a sale many years before and 
though it was old-fashioned, it had the hallmark 
of a once expensive garment. "I will never have 
to give lessons again because I am an heiress! I 



am going back to America, the first time in eighteen 
years. My poor dear father is dead and he has 
left me a large sum of money. Pd never known 
that he had gotten rich, but, yes, real estate." 

At the entrance of Fritzie and her companion, 
Trudchen, a shock of interest passed through the 
smoking-room. The eyes of all the women and 
all the men were fixed on them covetously. 
While the Baroness chattered, her eyes drifted 
continually to the girls. They were slack and 
rather soiled looking with big bones and blank, 
innocent eyes. They did not look adventurous 
but their entrance had altered the atmosphere of 
the smoking-room as though a new chemical ele- 
ment had been added. The men frankly iden- 
tified themselves as the lovers of the girls and 
made the jocular remarks that are customary 
among men. The women voiced their frustra- 
tion with their gossip, but they said hopefully, 

"This is only the beginning. These are only 
the first. Watch, you will see." 

Two of the older men, commercial travelers, 


joined the girls and offered them drinks. They 
ordered beers, but they felt awkward and shy and 
answered only in monosyllables. Presently, the 
men went away. 

"If it ever should come out," said Fritzie, "I 
should never hold my head up." 

"Well, what did we do?" said Trudchen. "We 
sat in the boys' rooms for a little while. After 
all, a few kisses with a little champagne to sweeten 
them — it was a lark!" 

"You must never, never tell," said Fritzie. 

"Oh, no, indeed!" Trudchen replied lightly. 
She was smaller and the better looking of the 
two. She had nicer teeth. She thought, "I bet 
she'll be bragging about it everywhere before 
night!" They both distrusted each other and 
hated each other, but each was in the other's 
power. "I shall have to be very nice to that big- 
toothed girl," thought Trudchen. "What a fool 
I was! I will have to take care not to quarrel 
with her." 

Every one in the smoking-room was conscious 
of the girls. The dancers held their partners closer. 



The row of middle-aged men sitting against the 
further wall drew themselves up from the vari- 
ous positions of hopelessness into which they had 
slumped. They were going to America for the 
first time to make a new start. There were men 
who had mustaches reminiscent of the former 
Kaiser, men with beards. Each one of them 
looked as if at one time he had had a position of 
small authority or had been either responsibly em- 
ployed or in the possession of his own business. 

Each one told the other of what they had been 
or what they had possessed and as they talked 
they became puffed up with importance, inflated 
upon their own words, like balloons blown by a 
child. There was no reality within. 

The war had come and revolution, and after 
it the appalling crash of the mark and here they 
were gutted, with neither money nor authority nor 
places in the world. They were going to a be- 
wildering new country, the noise of whose swift 
moving wheels sang in their ears. So they talked 
loudly and blustered and each pretended to have 
a better chance than the other. Each secretly 
knew that there was nothing for them. A small 



place, a little employment gotten by a relative, 
an income eked out by a son's bounty for these 
men in middle-age, at a time when their authority 
should be highest. 

They sat drinking beer or playing cards to- 
gether, trying to hide from themselves and each 
other their sense of panic and futility. All of 
them envied the Scott players, men of substance 
and used to crossing the ocean, going back to solid 
business, calm, comprehensible men. They had 
the unshakable belief in themselves which once 
the others had had. 

Their wives were more fortunate. The wives 
of petty officials or small tradesmen at best have 
a hard enough time. Subservience to their lords, 
hard work and painstaking economy had always 
been their lot. They took the great change each 
in a diflFerent way. A few were homesick, but 
most of them after the shaking experiences of the 
war, were resigned. They listened with awe and 
respect to the German-Americans. 

"Why, in Pennsylvania where I live, we cook 
and heat entirely by natural gas. No dirt, no 



"My kitchen is beautiful, blue and white. My 
blue enamel stove and all my dishes, blue enamel 
to match." 

"My dear, I had forgotten copper pots! They 
actually scour copper pots daily and wax the floors! 
So much work when I think of my vacuum 

"Yes, and the tiled stoves like monuments! 
Some of them, of course, are very pretty." 

"But when you think of them in comparison 
with a furnace!" There was a chorus concerning 
the beauties of central heating. The women from 
Germany listened to their companions. America 
seemed to them a land overflowing with central 
heating plants, electric lights, motor cars, vacuum 
cleaners and bath tubs. But for a moment both 
the men, with their bragging, and the women had 
stopped talking of these familiar subjects. The 
men as they looked at Trudchen and Fritzie 
began to tell ancient scandalous jokes. The 
women primped themselves and said to each 

"Those are the girls who have been down in 
the men's staterooms." They felt important and 
excited as they expressed their disapproval. 


A feeling of discomfort wove itself around 
Fritzie Shoevelson and Trudchen. They seemed 
to be shut away from the other people of the 
smoking-room, by what they knew about each 
other. "What a fool I was to let that big-footed 
girl get something on me/' thought Trudchen. 
She was small and rather short and neatly dressed 
in a brown traveling dress. It was of the modish 
length. A relative of hers had bought it for her 
in Berlin at a good place. She prided herself 
on being much more chic than the other women 
on the vessel. 

Other men had taken the places of the first 
men who treated them to beer. They were both 
familiar and equivocal. Several times unknown 
men had asked one or the other of the girls to 

There was something in the air that made them 
uneasy, something which concerned them and 
which they could not grasp. 

Fritzie got up and sat down beside Poupoulie 
and Elsa. 



"How are you enjoying the voyage?" she asked 
Elsa. "Have you nice roommates?" 

"Yes," Elsa answered shyly. 

"We're rooming together," said Fritzie, smil- 
ing at Poupoulie. Her hair was undulated and 
had a reflection that was like gold. Her eyes 
were brown. As Fritzie sat in the smoking-room, 
people bent their heads together and talked to 
each other. Elsa felt embarrassed. "She does 
not look like that kind of girl at all," she thought. 

"I have a joke to tell you," Fritzie said in 
a mysterious tone to Poupoulie. "Something so 
funny happened this afternoon! Oh, such a 
funny thing!" and she laughed to herself in a 
secret sort of way and Poupoulie laughed with her 
as though she knew and understood the joke. 

Christiansen had been standing in the door- 
way. Suddenly he walked forward as if under 
compulsion. He stopped before Elsa and said 
roughly as though he had a right to speak to 

"Come and walk on the deck with me." Elsa 
sat between the two girls and as she pushed past 
Poupoulie, Fritzie said impudently, 


"Introduce us to your husband." She knew 
very well that Christiansen was not Elsa's husband 
for they did not sit together at table, but she had 
sensed in his manner something critical of her and 
she wished both to attract his attention and to 
make him uncomfortable. Elsa pretended not to 
hear and with a red face went with Christiansen 
from the smoking-room. 

What he had intended to do he did not quite 
know. He wanted to take Elsa away from the 
girl that all the boat was talking about. He did 
not wish her to be a friend of Poupoulie's. It 
was as if he saw the soiled stream of the lives of 
these two girls jflowing into Elsa's life. But out 
in the windswept deck he could see none of these 
things, they all seemed absurd. He walked at 
a distance from her. He felt a little angry at 
her as though Fritzie's "Introduce us to your 
husband," had been her fault. He did not 
wish to be involved with any of these women 
and yet one after another shoved herself into 
his life, pricked his curiosity or his sense of 

Elsa walking beside him seemed scarcely con- 



scious of him, scarcely noticed him. She said 

"I like walking at night on the deck," and that 
was all. Gradually, his irritation died down. He 
enjoyed feeling close to her. 



Christiansen woke early. There was no 
sound in his stateroom except from the red- 
headed Pole in the upper berth opposite. The 
weather had not yet freshened, Christiansen no- 
ticed by the quality of the noises, the groan, the 
creak, the thousand adjustments of the great hulk, 
all the noises dominated by the vibration and the 
throb of the engine. 

He saw the vessel minutely, a long, deep thing. 
He saw the men in the glare of the stoke-hole 
and heard the clash of opened and closed doors 
on intolerable brightness and the crash of shov- 
els. Half-naked men sweating in sudden fire- 
glare. He saw the ordered engine-room, the 
quiet, effortless spinning of great wheels, the glis- 
tening shaft revolving. Everything oiled, glisten- 
ing, moving, but with the effect of great spacious- 
ness and of perfect order. The clang of a bell 
instantly obeyed. The Chief moving quietly 
around the throbbing engines. 



He saw the people in the third class in their 
long rooms with six berths, the well-like spaces 
where their baggage was piled, lighted from sky- 
lights above by a thin vitreous light. He could 
smell the stench of stale air, oozing from the 
crew's quarters and the smell of ammonia in the 

His mind swept down through the second 
cabin. A door at the end of a corridor led into 
first cabin. He saw decks towering, one above 
another, through saloons and smoking-rooms, 
painted music-rooms, up to the captain's bridge, 
to the officers' quarters and the boat decks. 

It gave him a satisfaction to identify himself 
with the ship and to see it completely j to wander 
down its iron arteries and locate in its interior the 
men who in former voyages had been his mates. 
He scarcely noticed when the little red-faced man 
who occupied the lower berth opposite Gottlieb 
got up and made his scanty toilet. 

He had a small bullet head and very small, 
bright eyes and bright cheeks. He was under- 
sized and wore his clothes too large for him. Al- 
though he was well upward of forty, he had still 


a boyish face, an appearance of false youth that 
gave him a gnome-like look. He wandered about 
all day looking for some one to play a game with 
him, snatching up a game of checkers as a hungry 
chicken does corn. 

The red-headed Pole sighed and stuck his clay- 
colored face with its shock of red hair from the 
upper berth and reached down with a long leg. 
He slept in his underclothes and wore drawers 
which were tied around his ankles with tape. He 
felt miserably seasick, but pretended he didn't. 
He tucked his collarless, soiled shirt into his pants, 
slipped his elaborately embroidered suspenders 
over his shoulders, stamped into his boots which 
were wrinkled like rhinocerous hide and bolted 
for the upper air. 

Gottlieb's feet hit the floor. 

^^Now we can dress," he exclaimed. "Heavens, 
what air! I could take my knife and carve a 
bust of the Pole's head right out of the air, it's 
so thick!" 

"I don't notice it," said Christiansen. "It's bet- 


ter than the air in the f oVsle of a beam-trawler." 
^^Are you a Good or a Bad, Christiansen?" 
asked Gottlieb. "Do you have girls in your 
stateroom, in other words, or do you talk about 
the girls that go down to staterooms? I know 
exactly what you're going to say — ^you're going to 
say you're a married man! It's a pity you're not 
a Bad, though, for there are some fine, sturdy 
wenches on this boat and it's sad to see them rush- 
ing around after those half-baked boys with their 
transparent ears sticking out like wax handles." 
"If you feel so sorry for those girls, why don't 
you set out for them, yourself?" said Christian- 
sen with ill-nature. "You're a healthy, vital man. 
If I wasn't married I wouldn't have anything to 
do with them. If they had a philosophy of free- 
dom I could forgive them. If they were in re- 
volt against anything — " 

"Certainly, they're not in revolt," said Gott- 
lieb. "They all know they're sinning, that's 
where the fun comes in. They're gorging on for- 
bidden fruit. Life's been meager enough for 
women, they might be allowed forbidden fruit, at 
least," he threw over his shoulder at Christiansen. 


It was snowing. The wind drove the snow 
whirling against the jlack water. One could see 
but a few rods. The watery world had shrunk. 
The vessel seemed to be always in the same place, 
making stealthy sidewise slides. The snow gave 
the illusion of immobility. 

Christiansen took a turn on the deck, ate his 
breakfast and then went to the smoking-room 
with an unacknowledged project of finding Elsa. 
Gottlieb's talk of the Goods and Bads touched 
his interest. He wanted to ask her if she was a 
Good or a Bad. He wondered if she knew about 
Fritzie Shoevelson or Trudchen Zug and the Sten- 
gel boys with their wax ears. 

It had become a popular thing among the young 
men to be seen talking to Fritzie Shoevelson and 
Trudchen Zug. Suddenly, they were the center 
of a crowd of men. From having first been em- 
barrassed and disquieted by the attention they at- 
tracted, they now considered themselves unusually 
charming, though each wondered why the other 
should be popular. 



They had dances engaged far ahead and even 
to the next evening. Though when Trudchen 
went to bed the older women who roomed in her 
cabin were distant and the other picture bride 
who had been a servant girl and whom Trudchen 
despised giggled at her in a familiar way. Pou- 
poulie, who roomed with Fritzie, said to her as 
they were undressing: 

"Weren't you frightened when you went to 
the Stengel boys' room?" 

"What do you mean, the Stengel boys' room?" 
asked Fritzie. 

"You were in the Stengel boys' room," Pou- 
poulie repeated calmly. "You don't have to put 
on anything with me." 

"Trudchen told you!" exclaimed Fritzie furi- 

"No, she didn't," said Poupoulie. 

"But she must have told some one," said 

When the girls met in the smoking-room they 
began to quarrel, each accusing the other of hav- 
ing betrayed their confidence. They quarreled at 
first in low tones and then more and more loudly. 
And they began to dispute about whose fault it 



was they had gone to the boys' room in the first 
place, each accusing the other of having started 
it. The Goods at the other side o£ the room 
watched with interest. At last Trudchen ex- 

"Pll listen to nothing more from you!" and 
got up and went out on the damp deck. 

Moe Rapp had listened to the talk of his room- 
mates, the Stengel boys. Wherever he turned, 
thoughts of these girls seemed to pursue him. 
He had listened all the morning to the Good 
ladies discussing the quarrel, the Stengel boys and 
the new combinations that were rapidly being 
formed. Mrs. Pincus said in an edged tone of 

"The French lady and the Scotch gentleman 
seem to be very interested." 

"I never see them together," said Mrs. Mur- 

"Oh, my dear, they're all day in the saloon 
together. Maybe you never go to the saloon?" 
There was no end to it. Moe Rapp got up and 

Second cabin 

went out on the deck hoping to see Fritzie. He 
hoped that she would speak to him, though he 
would not admit it to himself. The first day, for 
he was well-dressed and pleasant-looking, plenty 
of girls had spoken to him, but now, though he 
walked around and around, no one paid any at- 
tention. Fritzie was walking along with one of 
the big Lithuanians and did not look at Moe. 
There seemed to be no adventure for him. The 
ship churned its monotonous way through the 
snow. Moe Rapp looked in the smoking-room 
again. If he went in there he would have to sit 
with the Goods. He wandered down to the sa- 

The core of the second cabin was the smoking- 
room. There action began, a center was created 
which perpetually included more people in its 
widening whirl. The saloon was full of heavy 
upholstered chairs that had a vague resemblance 
to monstrous animals. Here people sat two by 
two in quiet confidence. The four nuns sat here 
when they were not on deck. Mr. Saunders and 



Mrs. Darrow were here often. Often girls with 
their new-found sweethearts would come here to 
tell the stories of their lives in low voices. It was 
a room for confidences. 

The people on board ship felt lost and dis- 
oriented and had the need of telling about them- 
selves to the people they met. It gave them a 
place in the world again to tell their names, the 
places they came from and their business, or to 
talk about their sweethearts. Scraps of people's 
stories were flying around the ship. They would 
go from mouth to mouth slightly altered, carica- 
tured, as they went. Every one knew that Moe 
Rapp was going back home to keep his fifth wed- 
ding anniversary. 

Poupoulie had finished writing a letter and 
looked up as Moe Rapp came in. Presently they 
were sitting talking together. 

"With all that goes on in this boat," he said^ 
"it is nice to find a sweet, quiet girl like you." 

"I have been brought up differently than these 
girls," said Poupoulie. "My aunt was very severe 
with me. You cannot imagine for what things my 
aunt would punish me," and she told Moe Rapp 
the story of her engagement and her aunt's sever- 


ity. And as he murmured with sympathy, she 
went into details of her aunt's severity to hear him 
exclaim again: 

"Think of that! Is that so?" in a hushed tone. 

"You could not believe the things my aunt 
would punish me for," said Poupoulie. "Down 
the street from us a little way there lived a war 
widow, Greta Coleman, such a pretty girl, but 
oh, what a sweet tooth! Somehow she managed 
to get a little sugar when there was no sugar. 
How did she do it? People raised their eyebrows. 
You understand — ^people began to talk. She 
would say to me, ^I must have sugar no matter 
what happens!' and she would throw back her 
head and laugh until you could look clear down 
her throat. Her tongue was red like a piece of 
red flannel and she had a cunning dimple. One 
day I was passing her house as she was coming in. 
She whispered to me, ^I have sugar cookies, Pou- 
poulie, come up. Sugar cookies and visitors at the 
same time! What shall I do? Come and help 
me like a good girl!' Who should I meet when I 
came out but my aunt. What fury! She was 
white about the lips. ^PU teach you to go to the 
house of a woman who is talked about!' said she. 


I had my lesson, you may be sure. So you can 
see/' she concluded virtuously, "I have been very 
differently brought up.'' 

The Baroness and Mrs. Rivers were sitting at 
a card table nearby. 

"What Pm afraid of," said the Baroness, "is 
the moment I get my money my husband and my 
son are going to take it away from me. How to 
keep it away from them? What would you do? 
How would you keep your money away from your 
husband and your son — I lie awake nights think- 
ing about it!" Her yellow eyes sparkled. Her 
inquisitive nose approached Mrs. Rivers, who 

"I'm sure I don't know. Men are so dread- 

"Oh, my husband is the most delightful boy in 
the world — eighteen years younger than I am!" 
She laughed uproariously. She told every one 
how much older she was than her husband. It 
seemed to her the most delightful joke in the 
world. She had felt a little bit embarrassed in the 



stateroom with Mrs. Murray and a young and 
innocent girl like Elsa and Mrs. Hassenberg whose 
own anxiety made her a little aloof, and she felt 
the need of more cosmopolitan talk than was pos- 
sible in the uncomplicated atmosphere of her 

"The way I happened to marry him was one of 
the funniest things you ever heard of. We had 
been living together for quite a long time. You 
know, living under the Bolsheviks, being bandied 
back and forth by the Whites, you have to have 
somebody. I think a woman always has to have 
somebody, don't you?" 

"They get frightfully lonely if they don't have 
any one," said Mrs. Rivers, with a touch of bitter- 
ness. She had never had any one. Her gentility 
had been a protection against ^11 temptation, 
though she looked younger and far less worn than 
the little Baroness. 

"All the Americans were going to withdraw 
from the Caucasus. ^You had better come along,' 
they said. ^What a pity that you're a Russian, it's 
going to be so hard to get you passports.' Then 
and there I thought why should I be a Russian? 
^Say, my little one,' I said to my sweetheart, 


4et US get married.' I had never thought o£ it: 
before. ^If you're my husband my officer friends 
will help you get back to Poland. Free transporta- 
tion, no less. If you don't, I shall have to leave 
you here and who knows what the Bolsheviks will 
do to you this time.' He was glad enough, I can 
tell you. A marriage of convenience, hey? He is 
devoted to me, but already I can see him finding 
a way of how to get my money! My son, the 
same thing. You expect it of sons. But I shall 
fool them. I shall manage to tie that money up. 
There are trust funds!" She ruminated. "My 
son was one of Denikin's officers. A charming 
boy. Absolutely no account. Quite like his fa- 
ther to begin with and, on top of that, life in Con- 
stantinople for who knows how long. Totally 
disorganized, my dear, totally." 

"So hard for you," murmured Mrs. Rivers. 

"Oh, no, not at all!" said the Baroness. "He's 
a charming boy, charming!" 

Christiansen had not found Elsa, because Elsa 
was in the third cabin with Grandma Grube. 


From the deck of the second cabin, Grandma 
Grube had looked down to the third cabin deck 
and had seen people who looked like those from 
her own village. Older women, too, who like her- 
self wore shawls and no hats, though she told 

"I have a hat to land in." The little old lady- 
walked around on the third cabin deck, chattering 
with this one and that one. She asked all the older 
women if they had known how to read and write 
before they came. Elsa and Grandma Grube liked 
it in the third cabin. It was more like home. 
Here no one was pretending to be anything he 
was not. There was no row of sad, middle-aged 
men lining the smoking-room and no row of 
women flaunting their gentility or talking about 
their plumbing to their less fortunate German 
friends. The third cabin was full of young fel- 
lows going over to work, older women joining 
their children. There was an atmosphere of sim- 
plicity and at the same time, of adventure, the ad- 
venture to which Elsa and Mrs. Grube both be- 
longed. Elsa was beginning to talk with one of 
the girls. 

"I thought I saw you up dancing last night.'^ 



"Yes," said the girl, "I came up. I got ac- 
quainted with some of the men in the second 
cabin. They come down here and talk to us. 
It's an Italian." 

"Do you come from the Tyrol, too?" asked 
Elsa, They made the discovery that they lived 
one on each side of the mountain. "Will you be 
coming up to-night again?" Elsa asked. 

"No," said the girl. "They threw us out. 
We're not allowed in the second cabin. My 
brother came up, too. He was furious. He came 
up to get me, and the inspector saw him. I think 
they would have let me stay if he hadn't been 


Lefty was coming along the deck with the 
American doctor. 

"Look who's here," said Lefty. "Look at my 
second cabin goil chumming up to my toid cabin 
goil!" The third cabin men scowled with hostil- 
ity at the second cabin men. As Lefty pushed his 
way along to Elsa, his manner altered completely 



as he said in Italian, "Buon giorno, signorina. 
How did you find your way down here?" 

The muttering behind Lefty and the doctor 
grew. The young doctor stood awkwardly to one 
side and talked in very bad German to Elsa. A 
clot of men formed behind them. The men who 
had been put out of the smoking-room the night 
before were saying: 

"Let's put them out of here. We're not al- 
lowed in their smoking-room! What right they 
got talking to third cabin girls?" 

"They don't mean any good down here, any- 

"Let's throw them out!" 
"Let's tell them to get a move on!" 
"Here, Frank," one of the men called to a 
Negro lounging about, "you be our delegate. 
You talk better English. Go up and tell those 
two fellows out of the second cabin to get back 
where they belong." The Negro was having a 
good time on board. No one paid any attention to 
his color. He looked at Lefty and the doctor and 
grinned. It seemed to him a good joke that a 
colored boy should be chosen to tell these fellows 
to get out of the third cabin. He hesitated a mo- 



ment and strolled up. The doctor wheeled on 

"What are you doing here?" he demanded, 
though the Negro answered politely. 

" 'Scuse me, Ah'm de gennelmen's delegate 
what requests me to remind yuh second cabin pas- 
sengers ain't allowed down yere." The doctor's 
fist shot out. The other men who had crowded up 
leaped forward, headed by the girPs brother. 

"Give 'em the bum's rush," shouted the Negro. 
Fists were flying. Lefty dropped one man after 
another, but the Negro boxed better than he did. 
The noise grew. Women screamed. Stewards 
came running along the deck. In the melee the 
doctor had disappeared and Lefty, with his nose 
dripping blood, went back to the second cabin. 

The smoking-room of the second cabin buzzed 
like a beehive. Grandma Grube was the center 
of one group, Elsa of another. Lefty, with a 
swollen nose, of a third. The Goods and Bads 
joined together in their excitement. 

"Fighting, was he, in the third cabin? Insulted 
a third cabin girl and the brother knocked him!" 

"Fighting with Negroes!" 


"Ha, if the stewards and the officers had not 
come, killed he might have been!" 

"Yah, yah?" 

"Nu, nu!" 

"And what an awful thing for you, Frau 
Grube! How terrible for the young lady to be 
in the middle of a fight!" 

"The American began it," Frau Grube pro- 
claimed. "The black boy spoke politely to him. 
Why did he hit him?" 

"Why should he go down there after girls?" 
asked Moe Rapp, bitterly. "Aren't there girls 
enough in this cabin?" 

During the afternoon, Christiansen and Elsa 
walked together on the deck. But as soon as Elsa 
came into the smoking-room after dinner, Lefty 
asked her to dance. She smiled at Christiansen 
and went willingly with Lefty. Christiansen sat 
down glumly beside Gottlieb, who was playing 
chess with the southern Jewish storekeeper. 

"Will you drink a glass of wine?" Lefty asked 



"Thanks, no," she said, 

"Have a drink with me. Have something!" 
he urged. "I know what you'd like. Pll get you 
a sweet syrup." He ordered her a creme de cacao. 
She had never had one. Christiansen watched 
her. When Elsa paused to watch the dancing, he 
could see her innocent young profile silhouetted 
against the clouds of smoke. She seemed to him 
all at once touchingly young, as though walking 
unrealizing among crowding disasters. It was ob- 
vious that she saw no dijfference between himself 
and Lefty. 

He felt he had to do something about it and 
yet, at present, there was nothing he could do, 
but he got up on an impulse and morosely asked 
her to dance. Lefty gave him a quick look, as 
though he were inquiring if this were a challenge. 
Christiansen paid no attention. When the dance 
was over he sat down with Elsa in a vacant seat be- 
side Mrs. Murray. Before the music began again. 
Lefty lounged across the room and again asked 
Elsa to dance, ignoring Christiansen as though he 
belonged to an inferior race, speaking a language 
that Christiansen did not understand, shutting him 


out. The man was insolent and provocative and 
yet there was nothing to be done about it. But 
when the next dance came, Christiansen went over 
doggedly once more and asked Elsa to dance. 

They had been drinking champagne in Lefty's 
corner. Elsa wasn't used to champagne. She had 
only drunk it once or twice in her life. It prickled 
her tongue and did not seem at all like a strong 
wine. Soon she was laughing. Christiansen when 
he danced with her made an effort to laugh, too. 
"If Pm gloomy," he thought, "and that fellow 
isn't, Pll lose out." But when Lefty again took 
Elsa away, Christiansen sat down beside Gottlieb 
who had now finished his game of chess. 

"What am I doing this for?" he asked in a dis- 
satisfied tone. "What the devil is the good in it? 
What difference does it make to me what becomes 
of that girl?" 

"Nothing's going to become of her," said Gott- 
lieb. "She's a good girl. She has loveliness. She 
may be a little saddened and a little disappointed 
in life — " He wandered on while Christiansen 
longed to cry to him to be quiet. 

"On the other hand," Gottlieb insisted, "why 
[ 140] 


shouldn^t you? She will really be happier with 
you as a friend than with that shady character over 
there who's now amusing himself by trying to see 
how much drink he can slip into her." 

Elsa stood by the door, a glass of liquor in her 
hand. Her cheeks were flushed. She had never 
been contended for like this and it excited her. 
Suddenly Christiansen went up to her. 

"The next dance is mine, isn't it?" he said. 
"Excuse me, Fraulein," and he took her glass of 
liquor from her and drank it and looked challeng- 
ingly at Lefty, who shot his arm out at Christian- 
sen and would have knocked him down except for 
the lurch of the ship which gave Christiansen a 
momentary advantage. Elsa leaned against the 
wall, not knowing what had happened, while the 
third officer and the purser's assistant blocked 
Lefty's way. Christiansen said peremptorily to 

"Take my arm. Come out of here." The 
smoking-room was a-buzz. There had been an- 
other fight. The spectators had been watching the 
struggle over Elsa and they approved of Chris- 
tiansen. The young officer turned to Lefty. 
[ HI ] 


"You're the same fellow," he remarked, "who 
was fighting in the third cabin. What are you 
trying to do, anyway? Cut it out, if you know 
what's good for you." 



As Christiansen and Elsa left the smoking-room 
the wind hit them in the face. 

"Listen," Christiansen said, "the wind's rising. 
Can't you feel the storm in the air?" The wind 
whipped at his excited senses. He felt liberated 
and exultant. And he had a right to, because he 
had beaten his rival and gotten the girl he wanted. 
He had an impulse to tuck his arm through Elsa's 
and race with her down the deck. On the other 
hand, he was angry that he felt this way. 

"What made me do this, anyway?" he thought. 
He had intended to say in a formal tone when 
he got outside, "Excuse me, Fraulein, I shouldn't 
have done that." This would destroy any feeling 
of intimacy which he might have awakened. For 
by what he had done, he had announced to the 
whole floating world of the Second Cabin, "I'm 
protecting this girl, whose innocence is a danger 
to her." But he was unable to make his speech. 
The tearing wind had blown his words away. 



The light from the vessel illuminated a few 
feet of the shifting, troubled seas. Then the 
darkness crowded in close. The decks were de- 
serted and the chairs piled up. Elsa and Chris- 
tiansen put their heads down and fought through 
the wind on the one sidej on the other, the wind 
pushed them along. Christiansen's exultation 
and his anger with himself fought together. 
From time to time, Elsa looked up at him shyly 
with gratitude and admiration. She realized that 
he had saved her from an unsuspected danger. 
Suddenly she had seen Lefty with Christiansen's 
eyes and she had been appalled. 

She felt more intensely alive than she had ever 
been in her life, as though the sight of violence 
that had followed her all day had shocked her 
awake. She abandoned herself to this feeling, 
walking beside Christiansen with the easy stride of 
a mountain girl. Suddenly, Christiansen realized 
that she was dangerous to him and dangerous to 
herself. He recognized with anger that he had 
created a bond between them which could not be 
broken as long as the voyage lasted. 

"This won't do," thought Christiansen j "this 
won't do, at all." So he said, pedantically, 
[ H4 ] 


"You know how my roommate, Gottlieb, di- 
vides the vessel? He divides it into the Goods and 
the Bads. You're one of the Goods and that fel- 
low was trying to get you to join the Bads, or give 
the appearance of it, anyway." As he said this, 
he felt like a fool and knew that he had sounded 
like a preacher, nor did he help by adding: "He's 
been after you right through the voyage. I've 
watched him." She answered submissively, 

"I shall avoid him after this." They were both 
silent for a moment, while Christiansen tried to 
rationalize his actions by attributing them to noble 
sentiments. After all, as Gottlieb said, this girl 
had loveliness and it was perfectly right and nat- 
ural to protect her from a fellow like Lefty. She 
had nothing in her experience to warn her against 

"Next turn I'm going in," thought Christian- 
sen, but he couldn't. He wanted to tell her about 
himself. He found himself trying to make her 
see the vessel as he saw it— alive and with a per- 
sonality whose chief quality was one of unquench- 
able gallantry. All the people who served it, 
keeping perfect faith with this gallantry. The 
bridge, the engine-room, the Captain, officers, en- 
[ 145 ] 


gineers, seamen, all laboring with unceasing 
watchfulness to bring the huge vessel safe through 
enormous winter storms. 

He swung Elsa through the cycle of the ship's 
day, from the depths of the stoke hole up to the 
bridge. In the belly of this faithful vessel, so 
strong, so gallant, lived the passengers, glutton- 
ous, sick, lazy, lecherous. He wanted to go on 
and explain how the first, second and third class 
were divided as the world was divided, but he 
stopped himself. Already he had talked on and 
on, in a tide of boyish, pedantic words. "Why 
should I be telling her this?" he thought. "Why 
should I want to create in her an interest in me 
and in the ship?" Yet he could not stop talking. 
The vividness of her interest, her swift responsive- 
ness, led him on. 

"Nights I lie and listen to the noise of the ves- 
sel, for a long time. Then all at once it's as if 
I had gotten outside it. I see the steamer like a 
tiny chip, like a leaf on the face of the ocean." 

"And if you and I — ^we're midgets in the belly 
of a ship — ^what are we in relation to the sea?" 
asked Elsa. 

"We're microscopic, we don't exist," Christian- 



sen said, and he wanted to add, "And nothing we 
do matters." This thought was a consolation. "It 
doesn't matter," he thought. "Why shouldn't I 
like this girl? What diflFerence does it make? 
We get to land, automatically we're parted." By 
the time they went in, he had accepted Elsa, as 
she accepted him. 

Inside the corridor, they paused a moment and 
she put her hand out, shyly, for his and said: 

"Good-night." Christiansen felt a sudden 
quiver of pity as he looked at her, for he saw 
that he was in the presence of a perfectly happy 
person. Elsa was living in this one point of time, 
radiant, and because of him. She gave his hand 
a little squeeze and then hurried down the com- 
panionway, as though she had called to him, "This 
moment has held perfection. I don't wish to go 
back where anything can spoil it. I must take my 
happiness down with me where I can be with it 

Gottlieb looked around the smoking-room after 
Elsa and Christiansen left. It made him think of 



the old deck hand's worn description of a kaleido- 
scope. Click! The pattern had changed. A new 
element had come in with the fight. It had been 
so short that it had not even been observed by the 
absorbed Scott players. 

Excitement ran through the room. It was 
as though the fight in the third cabin had been 
coming closer and closer to them all day, as though 
Lefty had brought up with him the spirit of the 
third cabin's violence. The Goods nodded to- 

"That's a fine young man! Such a nice girl, 
so innocent!" 

"Yes, yes, a very nice girl," said Mrs. Murray. 
"She is one of my roommates." She spoke as 
though this left no room for doubt. Every one's 
eyes were on Lefty. Lefty was complaining to 
Mrs. Rivers. 

"Say, I'd 'a' wiped the deck up wid 'im if it 
wasn't fer de officers. Say! I'll get 'im yet! 
You know dat Goiman baby's got me going! 
Hones', I'm crazy about her. Why, I'm so nutty 
about her I'd m^arry that goil just to get her! 
Bet you, at that," he mused wonderingly, "you'd 

[ 148 ] 


have to marry her to get her — unless you got her 
tight foist." 

"Was that — was that why you were trying to 
get her intoxicated?" Mrs. Rivers said in a low 
tone. She got some obscure satisfaction and ex- 
citement from Lefty's interest in this girl, and as 
he pressed toward her as usual, she did not move 
away. Mr. Saunders, the buyer, came up to them. 

"Have you seen Mrs. Darrow about?" he 

"No," Mrs. Rivers answered. "I haven't seen 
her. She said she had some friends in the first 

"Frien's in the foist cabin?" echoed Lefty. 
"She's a quick woiker, dat baby!" Mrs. Donovan 
looked up from her table where she was talking 
with Captain Hurley. 

"Joe seen her go up the first cabin," she con- 
tributed. "Didn't you, Joe?" 

"Yeh," said Joe. "I seen her. A fella come 
for her. She said she was goin' up to drink some 
champagne." Mr. Saunders tipped backward and 
forward on his toes. 

"So that's how it is," he said, "so that's how it 


is." He puckered his mouth and held it as though 
he was about to whistle. 

The second cabin wireless carried the news that 
the Frenchwoman was drinking champagne in 
the first cabin. There was an element of treach- 
ery in this, treachery to all of them. No one liked 
it. People were angry and yet excited. The first 
cabin with its rich people and their indulgences 
seemed nearer, just as the third cabin seemed 
nearer. People penetrated and interpenetrated 
between the classes and this made the whole fabric 
of life more exciting. Mrs. Donovan looked 
around speculatively. 

"What's gotten into 'em to-night?'' she asked 
heavily of Captain Hurley. "You know, if this 
was my husband's joint, Pd be lookin' to have 
the bouncer busy." 

"There wuz goils in the cabin nex' mine last 
night," said Joe. 

"Shut up, Joe. Don't you talk like that before 
your mother and sister! Shame on you!" re- 
sponded Mrs. Donovan. "In the old days, my 
husband had a wonderful bouncer. His name was 
John Bull. Big as a ton, three feet through and 
all meat. But he got going with an Eye-talian 



woman and the Wop croaked him. Eye-talians is 
fierce when they're jealous. There was an Eye- 
talian family lived under me and there'd be terri- 
ble rows. I could hear her hoUerin' when he beat 
her up. He was jealous. Jealous of the ice-man. 
What do you take ice for, if he's so jealous?' 
I'd ask her. She'd smile in her slow way and 
wouldn't answer nothing. I was coming home late 
one afternoon and a feeling came over me when 
I came in our house that something wasn't right. 
I don't know what it was. It gave me a turn. 
When I came up to the first landing there, a red 
worm of blood was crawling out from under her 
door. When they got the door opened, she was 
lying dead, carved up." Captain Hurley listened 
with fascination. 

Mrs. Donovan dropped these horror stories in- 
cidentally and from there went on to tell the indig- 
nation of her sister-in-law's family when the old- 
est boy, Johnnie, went into the wholesale grocery 
business. "And my brother-in-law with one of the 
few pool rooms on the level. ^Don't take on so,' 
I says to Lucy. ^Dry up! Not every one can be 
a gambler!' I told her." 

She stopped her reminiscences to look scrutiniz- 



ingly around the room again. The air was thick 
with smoke. They were playing a Viennese waltz. 
The girls waltzed languidly as if hypnotized with 
the music and the heavy air. All around the room 
people stopped talking and watched the dancers. 
There was a momentary silence, all talk stopped. 
Then every one began buzzing again, ordering 
drinks, talking over the third cabin fight and the 
second cabin fight. 

Only Grandma Grube sat as though uncon- 
scious of the heavy air, of the mounting storm and 
the mounting excitement. She sat entranced, talk- 
ing to Mrs. Heflinger, who came from St. Louis, 
Mrs. Heflinger, who still wore her hair like the 
former Empress of Germany, and walked with 
stateliness. When in Germany she had met 
Prince Ruprecht of Bavaria and she boasted about 
it, but her snobbishness was like a garment that 
did not belong to her. Her mild blue eyes, her 
calm brow, her pink-and-white complexion, had 
a quality that was almost like that of a nun. She 
had lived a quiet and serene life, untroubled by 
any thought. When she was in Germany she had 
missed her bathroom and her plumbing and all 
her kitchen appliances. Grandma Grube loved 



to hear about bathrooms that had white tiles. So 
Mrs. Heflinger would sit by the hour, talking 
about her kitchen and her plumbing and her gar- 
den and her son and sometimes even about her 
husband. Grandma Grube, in her turn, would 
tell about her garden and how she learned to read. 
She had now told her story to almost every one 
on the boat, and to many people more than once, 
for there were diflFerent aspects of it always occur- 
ring to her. 

Apart and untouched, the two sat. They came 
from diflFerent worlds and a generation separated 
them and over all their diflFerences they had 
thrown a tenuous, delicate bridge of friendship. 

The wind had come howling down out of the 
north. The vessel would plow under and a shud- 
der run along her frame. Everywhere there were 
doors slamming. Suddenly a big lurch and glasses 
crashed on the floor. People unaccustomed to the 
sea exchanged glances with those who had crossed 
before, asking for reassurance. The dancers 
pitched together, stumbled on each other and 




laughed, excitedly. Groups of young people, the 
men and girls, talked, absorbed, in corners, making 
plans for parties in staterooms after the dancing 
was over. Bottles of wine were being sent to 
staterooms. The Stengel boys invited Moe Rapp 
to join them. 

"What am I to do?" he moaned to Mrs. Mur- 
ray. "If I refuse, how unpleasant!" 

Again a quiver went through the vessel. The 
dancers thumped against each other. More 
glasses fell and then suddenly the lights went out. 

Utter darkness, utter silence, except the noise 
of the roar of wind and sea and the throb of the 
vessel. Then into the black pocket of night, in 
the second cabin smoking-room, there was the 
sound of cat-calls, of loud derisive kisses. Lefty's 
voice, "Yum, yum! Oh hahyP^ Obscene giggles 
of laughter. In that moment of darkness it seemed 
to Gottlieb that all the obscenity of the smoking- 
room was summed up. In the darkness they snick- 
ered and shouted their desires aloud. Sounds of 
hysterical giggles. Smacks on empty black air and 
then the lights went on. 

People stared at each other. There was uneasy 
laughter. A pale shadow of fear had spread 



across the smoking-room. The older men playing 
their games of cards or sitting drinking their beer 
blinked like owls, were uneasy though they said 
reassuring things to their wives. The sudden 
darkness was undermining to the security of and 
trust in the ship. 

It was getting rougher. The storm was sweep- 
ing down upon them. You could feel it coming, 
as though dark and terrible the whole power of 
the Atlantic was against the vessel, plowing so 
doggedly through heavy seas. Mr. Murray 
patted his wife's hand. 

"That's nothing," he reassured her. Mrs. Pin- 
cus and Mrs. Opp glared at each other. Mrs. Opp 
had crept close upon the old doctor for shelter 
and he had been discovered patting her shoulder 
after the lights came on. 

^^Joe, you ain't goin' to order nothin' more," 
said Mrs. Donovan. 

^^Say," Lefty said to Mrs. Rivers, "you look all 
frazzled. Wuz you scared? Honest, that ain't 
nothin'. Have a drink. Say, you look as if you'd 
seen a ghost on the Lusitania. Honest, don't get 
scared." The men and girls making plans for the 



evening had not stopped. The curtain of black- 
ness had been amusing, a foretaste. 

Mrs. Darrow stepped tentatively over the door- 
sill of the smoking-room, looking about with the 
air of a person making an entrance. She stood 
poised, a little apart, symbol of the first cabin and 
all its luxuries. The girls looked at her enviously, 
the men greedily. Mrs. Murray exclaimed in a 
shrill voice: 

"This smoking-room is abominable! " 

Elsa and Mrs. Hassenberg were in bed when 
Mrs. Murray got down to her stateroom. 

"Oh, my dear, I'm glad you were not upstairs !'' 
she said. "I'm glad that nice young man, Mr. 
Christiansen, rescued you from that terrible Ital- 
ian! Don't dance with him any more! Don't 
speak to him again! You're so innocent, my 
child!" she pleaded. She wrung together her 
large red hands, the knuckles of which had been 
enlarged by chillblains. 

"He follows me all around," said Elsa. 

"Run from him, my child! This ship is terri- 



ble. YouVe too innocent to know what that man 
is like," she lifted her kind, plain face to Elsa, 
talking intensely. She had a spinster look about 
her which would never alter and she had a spin- 
ster's shrill, unappeased excitement. "Oh, after 
you left," she said, "the smoking-room! What 
it became! No dance-hall could be worse — ^no 
low resort — to what we see nightly in the smok- 
ing-room! With priests and holy sisters crossing 
upon this same boat. Did the lights go out in 
your room?" she asked. 

"Yes," said Elsa, "they went out for a mo- 

"Oh, in the smoking-room when the lights 
went out! Cat-calls, kissing noises, smacks, crack-> 
ing out. If Pd not been so frightened* I would' 
have plunged my fingers in my ears! Thank 
God, I have such a good man. Oh, my child, what 
it is to have married a good, good man! What a 
beautiful wedding I had!" Holding on to her 
berth she groped in her suitcase. "My wedding 
certificate," she said. It was illumined with fig- 
ures of saints and designs of crosses, hearts and 



The door opened and with the lurch of the ship 
the Baroness burst into the room. 

"Heavens!" she gasped. "What an experi- 
ence! What a ship! What is the matter with the 
ship to-night?" She plumped down on the camp- 
chair and steadied herself against Mrs. Hassen- 
berg's bed. 

"What is it? What has occurred?" asked Mrs. 
Murray. Mrs. Hassenberg turned her eyes ques- 
tioningly toward the Baroness. 

"Why, you're all upset," she said. 

"Upset! If you had this horrible thing happen 
to you, you would be upset." Her eyes were 
blazing with eagerness. "You know the tall Pole 
with the long beard?" 

"The one whose wife is seasick all the time?" 

"The one with the pretty wife?" 

"The one with the pretty wife and the little boy 
and with the beard that spreads out like a mat. 
I'm coming along the corridor past the ladies' 
toilet. In the other direction comes this Pole. 


N D 

Whoof! The ship pitches! It pitches me into 
his arms! His arms closed around me. I thought 
he was steadying me. I leaned against him for a 
moment. And then — and then he pinched me and 
he tried to pull me into the ladies' toilet!" 

"Impossible!" screamed Mrs. Murray. 

"The solemn truth," said the Baroness. "He 
pinched me and tried to pull me into the ladies' 
toilet," she repeated. 

"I have heard of men and women going into 
toilets together," said Mrs. Murray. "I have 
heard it before now, but never, never would I 
have believed it. Would you, Mrs. Hassenberg?" 

"No," said Mrs. Hassenberg, dimly. "No, I 
would not believe it." She looked at the Baroness, 
whose nose was quivering. There came over her 
the knowledge that this had not happened. 
The Baroness had made up her adventure. He 
wouldn't have done it, not that tall, nice-looking 
man. "She's a funny-looking woman, anyway," 
thought Mrs. Hassenberg, "with those queer- 
looking Red Cross underclothes she wears. I 

"Listen, listen," said Mrs. Murray, "listen to 



the footsteps. Listen to the giggling in the hall. 
What a scandal! What a boat! It's more like a 
brothel than a boat!" 


The boat was full of the noises of the rising 
storm. Now it had lost its stability. The floor 
canted steeply downwards, no longer sliding away 
in a subtle fashion. The porthole, at each roll of 
the ship, swung under water and remained there 
seconds. And all around was the sound of feet 
through the halls, giggles, quiet again, stealthy 
sounds coming and going. Footsteps lurching with 
the unsteadiness of the boat. 

Elsa lay thinking about the boat and about 
Christiansen. She wished she were up on deck 
now, battling against the storm with him. She 
imagined herself holding onto his arm, until in 
her imagination she swung around and around the 
deck with him. No one else was there. The 
darkness crowded about them. The deck was the 
one little lighted space, afloat in a wilderness. 
Elsa drowsed oflF, still imagining herself with 


Christiansen. She felt as if she had scarcely been 
asleep when the lights were switched on. 

"What's the matter?" cried the Baroness. 

"What's the matter? What's happened?" cried 
Mrs. Hassenberg. 

"Oh, Mrs. Murray, are you sick?" Elsa heard 
herself say. 

Mrs. Murray sat weeping on the side of the bed. 

"Oh," she cried. "I can't talk about it. Oh, 
what horrors, oh, what horrors!" 

"What is it?" Mrs. Hassenberg got out of bed 
and sat beside Mrs. Murray. "Mrs. Murray, 
come, come — tell us what has happened." 

"Oh, that it should happen to me! Oh, that he 
should touch me!" 

"Come, don't, Mrs. Murray, don't," said Mrs. 

"In the smoking-room it was. Your friend, 
Elsa, that Lefty Finko. His hands, oh-h, his 
horrible hands! I was paralyzed. I couldn't 
scream, I couldn't cry. Oh, the horrible, horrible 
boat! I couldn't breathe down here any more. 
My head went around and around, the noise and 
the crashing and the water rushing over the port- 


hole, the cry of the boat, it all frightened me. 
And one of the suitcases went slipping across, 
slipping like an alligator, across the floor. ^I must 
get out,' I thought. ^Just a breath of air, just a 
breath of air. I shall strangle.' How I got to 
the smoking-room I don't know. What a sea we 
have ! I sat in a corner. The lights were all down. 
Finko came in. He said, ^Are you sick? Can I 
help you?' He sat down beside me and he put 
his hands all over me before I could get away. 
Then suddenly I began to cry. I was hysterical. 
And the more I cried, he patted me the more. 
Oh-h-h! The horror. What will my husband 
say? Oh, I'm defiled!" 

^^Don't," said the Baroness, "don't cry so. 
What would you say if you had some one pinch 
you in the corridor and try to drag you in the 
ladies' toilet? Did he only touch you? Was that 

Elsa had been sitting bolt upright in bed, for- 
getting for the first time she had no nightgown. 
Her dark eyes stared at the Baroness. "Lefty," 
she thought. "He was waiting for me. He was 
looking for me. He asked me to meet him there." 



"He said," wept Mrs. Murray with her hys- 
teria mounting, "he said, ^Baby, have a drink! 
Baby, have a drink!' to me, to me, to my father's 
daughter, to my husband's wife — ^Baby, have a 



The stewardess stood in the doorway. She was 
one of those English women that make one real- 
ize why it is that Britannia rules the waves. 
Large, adequate, ample. 

"Good morning, ladies," she said. "How are 
you all feeling this morning?" The vessel leaned 
over with deliberation, green water rushed past 
the stateroom window and the room took on the 
subaqueous atmosphere of an aquarium. The big 
stewardess balanced herself automatically and 
swung with the motion of the vessel. With de- 
liberation, the vessel righted itself again. 

"Pve had a frightful night, frightful!" com- 
plained Mrs. Murray. "Nightmares! I would 
think myself back in the smoking-room! Oh, 
stewardess, the horrible thing that happened to 
me in the smoking-room." 

"The horrible thing that happened to me in the 
corridor!" cried the Baroness. 

"The same man, Finko, that has been persecut- 
ing this poor Fraulein!" 



"It seemed as if my head would burst open with 
the bad air," said Mrs. Murray. They all felt 
buffeted from bracing themselves against the 
bunks, the heavy air pressed them down. In dif- 
ferent ways apprehension gripped at them. 

"My head," said Mrs. Hassenberg, "feels as if 
it had an iron band around it. Is it going to get 
much worse?" 

"You ladies should be glad you're not sea- 

"Are lots of people seasick?" asked the Baron- 
ess, eagerly. 

"A great many. A great many can't get up this 
morning at all." 

"If I don't get on deck I shall be seasick my- 
self," said the Baroness. She began dressing in 
her berth with the agility of a monkey. Without 
getting up to wash, she made her face up elabo- 
rately. She slipped on a black satin dress and her 
fur coat over the gray flannelette underclothes 
which had been given to her by an American relief 

Mrs. Hassenberg and Mrs. Murray decided to 
have their coffee in bed. 

1 165] 


When Elsa got upstairs, she found the way to 
the deck barred by the old deck hand. No one 
was allowed outside. Spray swept the decks. 
There was an incredible noise, rushing of water, 
tearing and screaming of wind, a maniacal sound. 
The noise of a tempest coming down on a moun- 
tain had direction and force. Here sound was 
everywhere. The ship was attacked from all di- 
rections. There was a shudder when a great bulk 
of water hit the deck. Now and then the pro- 
peller was lifted out of the sea and churned shat- 
teringly in mid-air. Elsa thought of the vessel in 
Christiansen's terms — z tiny, sliding chip in a wa- 
tery universe. 

The waves were now mountainous. Valleys of 
water, shifting, precipitous hills of water, the wind 
blowing their crests of foam from them. There 
was an awful menacing power in the storm. Elsa 
was terrified by its violence. People were hud- 
dled in the smoking-room. Only the Scott game 
continued, unperturbed. New people appeared 


every moment, making an uncertain way across the 
shifting smoking-room floor, to barricade them- 
selves in corners. 

Elsa looked around for some one she knew. 
Christiansen wasn't there. Some of the girls with 
their young men were already sitting with the 
effect of sparrows on a telegraph wire, two by 
two, close together. 

Gottlieb and Dr. Grimm were talking. Elsa 
sat down by herself. The vast uneasiness and ap- 
prehension of the ship's company oppressed her. 
She had a naked and lonely feeling, sitting by her- 
self. Near her sat Mrs. Donovan with a firm ex- 
pression on her face as one who thanks the gods 
for an unconquerable soul. Captain Hurley sat 
negligently beside her. He was one of those men 
for whom there is no seasickness. The smoking- 
room doors swung open wide each time a new per- 
son came in, blown in on a wind. There was a 
struggle to shut it. 

Lefty was thrown in. He skidded lightly down 
the room, recovering his balance like a cat, glanced 
swiftly around, located Elsa and advanced toward 
her. He looked, it seemed to her, like an animal 



walking on his hind legs. There was something 
both bestial and innocent about him. He had no 
knowledge of how awful he was, no knowledge 
of anything except his own underworld where all 
men and all women were purchasable. This feel- 
ing that had come to him about Elsa was so ex- 
traordinary it was like having a new sense. He 
felt like talking about it to every one. He 
plumped down beside her and after a few pream- 
bles as to the storm and as if he had not been 
thinking about that, he said: 

"Signorina, I love you. Not the way IVe loved 
other women. I love you. And I suppose — I 
suppose you do not love me." Elsa felt that the 
eyes of the smoking-room were upon her. She 
was a Good. Lefty was a Bad. And a Good had 
come last night and rescued her from a Bad and 
now here she was with him again and she rather 
liked him. 

"I suppose," he said soberly without rancor, "I 
suppose you like your friend. But he's married, 
you know. Listen" — an idea struck him — "if you 
do not want to marry your fidanzato, you could 
marry me. They wouldn't mind if you changed." 


Elsa laughed — there was something quite charm- 
ing about him. He looked at her with puzzled 
eyes, not at her laughter but at his own emotion 
toward her. He wanted to explain to her about 
it. "You know, I never thought Vd ask any one 
to marry me. It's always seemed so unnecessary," 
he said. "Don't go." Elsa had risen. "Where 
are you going? Just because I asked you?" She 
shook her head. The pressure of public opinion 
was forcing her away. She didn't want to go. 

As she crossed the room Gottlieb made a place 
for her, almost as a matter of course in a shelter- 
ing, fatherly sort of way. It pleased her. The 
doctor nodded his head gently. 

"Instructive," he said, "very instructive. Here 
you can watch the emotions of the people en masse. 
Here in a mass you see their greediness, seasick- 
ness, a whole shipful love making or watching the 
lovemaking. Now it's apprehension. Are you ap- 
prehensive, Fraulein?" Elsa shook her head. 
"No," he said, "you look happy. You're differ- 
ent. You and Frau Grube could join hands and 
be a little band of angels." 

Gottlieb contributed: "Frau Grube is carried in 

[ 169 ] 


God's right hand. She knows nothing can hurt 
her. She told me so. She looks with curiosity 
across the fishy waters, because she has been watch- 
ing all the way over for a whale spout, for once 
she saw a picture of such a monster." 

Except for Frau Grube and a few others, fear 
and misery had the boat. Some of the people had 
slumped upon one another, not caring what hap- 
pened, curled up in attitudes of despair. Those 
whom seasickness had passed by and apprehension 
and fear touched seemed more violent. Nothing 
mattered except to forget fear. 

The two men sat discussing fear. Gottlieb des- 
canted in his wordy way the different methods of 
showing fear. The doctor talked of the physio- 
logical effect on the human system. Fear like a 
poisonous gas swept through the ship. It satu- 
rated the smoking-room. Elsa sat waiting to be 
delivered from the thought of fear. 

Elsa found herself watching tensely for Chris- 
tiansen. Each person who came in added to the 
total of misery in the room and each person who 
appeared was a fresh disappointment. 

The crowd in the smoking-room grew. Every 


one who could get up crowded there, for in the 
big chairs in the saloon people could sit only two 
by two. In the smoking-room they hoped to find 
comfort in one another's presence. Not finding 
comfort, but a heavy atmosphere of apprehension, 
they settled down heavily with the air of waiting 
for something to happen. The American doctor 
had come up and Lefty and he, with three Ger- 
man-Americans, were playing their usual poker 
game. Mrs. Rivers called the steward to her 

"I feel ill, steward," she said. "Bring me a 
brandy. I never drink in the morning," she told 
the Baroness. "Never, only to-day I feel sick, 
I feel miserable. Won't you have a brandy?" 
The Baroness accepted. 

"Champagne is the best thing for seasickness. 
When I was coming up from Constantinople — 
what a journey! We were packed in like sardines! 
And my husband seasick! Oh, la, la! I don't 
know what it is, but there's something repulsive 
about a seasick husband! There was a kind man 
who saved my life. He brought me champagne, 
but where he got the money — !" 



Mamie lurched across the floor. 

"Ma," she said, "I just looked in on Joe to see 
how he was and he's ordering drinks in the state- 

"Well, what of it?" said Mrs. Donovan. 
"What of it, Mamie? If a man's going to get 
stewed, what better place than to get stewed in 
his own bed where no harm can come to him? 
That's what my husband always said. ^If a man 
is drunk,' he'd say to me, ^the first thing to do is 
to get the pants oflFen him — take a drunk's pants 
off him and you take away his ambition. There's 
hardly ever a drunk who can get more of the legs 
of his pants on but one! ' " 

"You would be talking different. Ma, if it was 
me ordering drinks in my stateroom," said Mamie, 
darkly. Her mother looked her over. 

"Don't talk foolish, Mame," she advised. 

"This is a mean, uncomfortable day and it's 
got to be gotten through with somehow," Captain 
Hurley contributed. 

Elsa had sat waiting more and more intensely. 


Finally, she had given up. Just as she had given 
up, Christiansen came through the door. He had 
never seen as bad weather as this. He had just 
come up from the men's quarters where he had 
located friends, former shipmates of his. 

The violence of the storm had gotten under his 
skin. The fury of the wind seemed to have de- 
tached him once and for all from land and from 
all the preoccupations of land. He seemed to him- 
self isolated from time and nothing existed except 
the plunging ship and the shifting violent seas. 
Water in great volumes crashed down on the deck. 
The ship seemed to be assailed with a fury that 
had in it spite, as though the storm and the wind 
and the sea were informed with the spirit of de- 
struction against the vessel. 

This violence had a subtle contagion and Chris- 
tiansen felt himself filled with a furious impa- 
tience, against what he did not know. He had a 
necessity of getting Elsa away, out of the smok- 
ing-room, from people who were piled on top of 
each other like slugs. 

"Come out of this,'' he said, abruptly. "I can't 
stand that smoking-room! They're scared, scared, 
those people, and about nothing. Cowards, that's 


what they are. There's something that turns your 
stomach about a place where they're heaped over 
each other that way, a worm's nest full of cow- 
ards! That's what this society breeds. Now if 
you want it all in an eyeful, take the second cabin 
of a liner in a storm. God! I wish you could 
come down where the seamen are." 

Elsa lurched down the corridor behind him as 
he shouted phrases over his shoulder at her, in a 
tone as though he were scolding her. She felt 
light of heart, taken care of. She liked his vio- 
lence. "It's enough to make an anarchist of one!" 
Christiansen bawled, for he had been moved as by 
an emotional necessity of snatching Elsa from the 
smoking-room, as he had in taking her away from 
Lefty the night before. 

The shadowy saloon was deep in the belly of 
the ship. The sisters of St. Joseph, pale of face, 
sat in a row. Two of the priests were seasick and 
two more sat reading breviaries. Some of the 
older ladies reclined in chairs. Mrs. Darrow, 



groomed as though she were on a yacht instead 
of In the second cabin in a storm, sat close to Mr. 
Saunders. He leaned forward and put his hand 
upon her thigh. Christiansen saw them. It of- 
fended him that they should be on the boat with 

"This saloon is full of Jonahs," he said to 
Elsa. "The sailors are saying it's because of all 
the crows — ^priests bring bad luck on a ship. It's 
better than the smoking-room anyhow.'' Since he 
had left her the night before it seemed as though 
they had advanced a long way in friendship. 

Suddenly, Christiansen found he could talk to 
Elsa as he had never talked to any one. Neither 
to his wife nor even to his best friend. 

It was a new experience for him. He felt that 
there was no barrier whatever between himself 
and Elsa, that there was nothing on earth that he 
had ever thought or felt that he could not tell her, 
nothing that she would not comprehend. He 
could even talk to her about his wife, for whom 
he cared tenderly and whom he had never loved. 
Christiansen's wife had been the wife of his best 
friend who had been killed in the war. They had 



been betrothed when war broke out, been married 
and had scarcely lived together, 

Christiansen promised his friend to look out 
for his wife. So he had married her to keep this 
faith. Besides, he had wanted to marry. He 
wanted a home. And he was very attached to 
Rosa. However, since the birth of Christiansen's 
child, she had been ill. Christiansen had been 
seized with a torment of remorse as though it 
was his fault that she had lost her rosy looks and 
dragged around so miserably. 

"Pve been tearing around like a tuna fish in a 
net," he told Elsa, "trying to make money this 
way and that way. Of what use now, the mark is 
falling? There's nothing in life for workmen in 
Germany. No way out. I wrote to my brother 
and he said there would be plenty of chances in 
America for a good mechanic like me." 

At the middle of the day, the steward appeared 
with the chart of the day's run. Soon a discon- 
solate crowd had formed around it, the vessel 



had not made two hundred miles. The run of 
the day before had been three hundred. The 
storm was booming over the ship with a steady 
roar. There seemed no end to it. The vessel 
was plunging into a head wind. She had now a 
slight list and in the rooms on Elsa's side of the 
boat the ports were under water almost all the 

One person after another went up to look at 
the ship's run, and each one turned away as if he 
had drunk of a philter of desolation. Each one 
had secretly hoped that the run had been good, 
as though the storm had made no difference. It 
loomed clear to all of them they would be at 
least a day late, at least a day more weltering out 
in a storm, a day more of suspense and another day 
of inaction, a day of brutal and vile discomfort. 

Now that the passengers were no longer al- 
lowed on deck, even for a moment, the vessel had 
become contracted. People felt the weight of 
each other's nearness, intimacies and dislikes had 
an unhealthy mushroom growth. Members of 
families snarled at each other, or sat hopelessly 
silent. The young men quarreled for nothing. 


Through the whole ship went the news, "Have 
you heard what the run is? We have made less 
than two hundred miles." It was translated into 
all the languages. The news burrowed its way- 
through the cabin to the seasick people, brought 
by friends. At luncheon it was the only subject 
of discussion. 

The lunch tables showed great gaps. There 
had been many vacancies ever since it came on to 
blow. The people who came ate voraciously, 
more voraciously than ever. Up in the smoking- 
room, a woman lay in the corner groaning. 

"To think that I should be seasick with such 
good eating to be had!" 

Moe Rapp came truculently into the smoking- 
room. He chose a place apart, propped himself 
up, leaned his head back and closed his eyes. He 
was announcing to the smoking-room that the 
Stengel boys were again entertaining company in 
their room and had put him out. 

"Look at poor Mr. Rapp," said Mrs. Pincus. 



"Even on a day like to-day. How can they? 
How are you feeling, doctor?" The doctor 
nodded his head. 

"All right, all right," he said. "Better than 
Mr. Murray. Mr. Murray has had to go be- 

"Poor Mr. Rapp would like a chance to go be- 
low, no doubt," said Mrs. Pincus. "Well, they 
must have some new one, because, see, there is 
Fraulein Zug." Trudchen was curled up miser- 
ably. "Now who do you suppose it is?" Specu- 
lation ran from person to person and helped to 
deaden the storm's monotony. 

There was nothing one could do. All except 
those with the most seaworthy legs risked being 
hurled across the smoking-room if they moved. 
There was something brutalizing in the motion, 
the noise, the discomfort. The hours dragged. 
Sheets of rain, sheets of spray drove past the port- 
holes. The ship was enclosed as within a driving 
cataract. And still through the storm people or- 
dered drinks and the little steward continued to 
perform his acrobatic feat, balancing himself with 
the agility of a spider on his bandy legs, plowing 


Up the smoking-room, ricocheting, balancing, 
courtesying to the extravagant motion of the ship, 
and smiling with it, as though pleased with him- 
self as a child performing a dexterous feat. 

Presently one of the Stengel boys appeared in 
the smoking-room. He had his hands in his pock- 
ets and lurched over to Moe and sat down beside 
him sheepishly. 

"You here?" said Moe with sarcasm. 

"The air," he muttered. "The motion." 

"Too much for the girls?" 

"A little," young Stengel grinned. "If you 
want to lie down now you can," he suggested. 
"But it's awful downstairs. The noises, you know. 
It makes you sick to hear other people sick." 

"It spoils love's young dream, doesn't it?" said 
Moe, bitterly. 

"It was when the old woman next door 

groaned, ^Oh, give me a glass of water!' and 

then shrieked out, ^You've given me the glass with 

your false teeth in it!' and you could hear them 



clinking against hers! Oh, how seasick she was!" 

"Yes, that would spoil a liebesnacht," said Moe 
grimly. He was savagely glad that the Stengel 
boys' afternoon had been ruined. He was now 
almost exasperated past bearing by these love af- 
fairs which went on around him and which he 
could not share. 

"That's a good one," he said, "false teeth! 
One old lady gave the other her false teeth to 
drink! That's rich!" He started to tell the glad 
tidings to the smoking-room. There was a Goya 
quality to this love affair that pleased the smok- 
ing-room's sense of humor. Mrs. Donovan and 
Captain Hurley roared with laughter. 

"Drank her false teeth, hey? That's good!" 
cried Lefty. 

"Well, I have my stateroom to myself, if I 
wish," Moe was explaining to Mrs. Pincus and 
Mrs. Opp. "The sweethearts have been dis- 
turbed." He told the tale with gusto. 


Elsa had again joined Christiansen in the 



"We're still as far from land," he said, "as we 
were yesterday." 

"I'm glad of it," said Elsa. "I wish this 
storm would last forever. The strange thing is, 
I feel as if I'd always been here. Already this 
place is like a home to me. All the ladies in my 
stateroom, I shall miss them." 

"You're rooming with frightful people," said 

"Why?" asked Elsa, astonished. "Why 
frightful? I like them. They're very kind to 

"What's there to like about them?" asked 
Christiansen savagely. "That old maid who's 
married her father is always bragging about it! 
She goes around making acquaintances with all 
the older men so she can tell them. He's a nice 
innocent old boy and now this hard old virgin's 
caught him. And that Baroness! She's a fine 
product for you, with her White Guard son and 
her young husband lying in wait to see if they 
can't get the poor old thing's money away from 

It made Elsa uncomfortable to hear Christian- 



sen. The Baroness seemed like a heroine in ro- 
mance to her. Even her ridiculous make-up 
placed her apart from other people that Elsa had 
ever known and gave her the look of some one 
in a book. But to Christiansen the Baroness 
seemed a vile emanation of an awful civilization. 
Her painted mouth was a challenge. It seemed 
to him iniquitous that such a piece of wreckage 
should inherit a fortune wrung, no doubt, from 
the workers, which she would fight over with the 
awful rapacity of an insect, with her two worth- 
less, parasitic men. Women like that turned 
Christiansen's stomach. She had been poor al- 
most all her life. All her life she had worked 
hard and during the war and revolution she had 
still continued to give her lessons first to the young 
Bolsheviks and later to the American officers, 
whom she adored, and with one of whom she had 
had an affair. Each one had seemed romantic to 
the other. The young American had fancied the 
simple, hard-working Baroness as the expression 
of a corrupt, brilliant civilization. The Baroness, 
like most of the smaller Russian nobility, had pre- 
tended to a position which she had never had, and 



imagined life under the old regime as she would 
have liked to have known it and told the Ameri- 
cans all kinds of fairy tales. 

"I wish you did not hate the people I like," 
said Elsa. "It makes you seem strange to me and 
I feel about you as though I had always known 
you and as though I should always know you. 
When I sit here among all these friendly peo- 
ple, it seems to me it can't be that in a few days 
they will all be gone and I will never see them 
again and I will be married to a total stranger. 
Oh, it's a terrible thing, a frightful, frightful 
thing to do what Pm doing! I didn't know what 
it was going to mean until I had started on my 
journey! I wish this storm would keep on for- 
ever. I wish it would prevent us landing. Can 
you imagine how awful it is to know you're going 
to leave all these friends and that every moment, 
every throb of the engine, you're getting nearer 
and nearer to some one that you have never seen 
and who's got a right to marry you whether you 
like him or not? Oh!" she said, "I can't bear It 
sometimes, I can't bear it! I feel as if I couldn't 
have it." Her voice rose to a cry. It seemed to 



Christiansen that his heart was being torn out of 
him. He couldn't have it. He couldn't let it 
happen. And yet he could do nothing to pre- 
vent it. 



By night, the storm was worse. The ship 
seemed to Christiansen an isolated thing, burrow- 
ing through the North Atlantic, as lonely as a 
world zooming through space, a microcosm 
shouldering up and sliding down great waves. 
The creaks and groans, the shivering of every 
joint and every plate, the complaining of every 
board, the roar of the storm and the throb of the 
engines made so appalling an uproar that its total 
eflPect was of silence. 

The people had assembled in the smoking- 
room. The steward walked like a performer on 
a tight-rope, his tray balanced at a fantastic angle. 
A heavy German with a face like a frightened 
gray moon crashed against him. The load of 
beer and Schnapps and liqueurs shivered to the 
ground. The man wheeled around twice, his 
arms outspread like a mechanical toy, and col- 
lapsed at the other side of the smoking-room. 
Every one stared at the wreck as though it was 
a portent of some evil. The motion of the ship 


was SO furious that every one was braced, as 
against disaster. The people coming in the door 
ran this way or that way, down the steep hill 
of the smoking-room floor, unable to stop them- 
selves. There was a sense of emptiness, of there 
being nothing left to do in the world but to wait 
for disaster. 

The man who had knocked the steward's tray 
sat staring ahead of him, his mouth slightly open, 
his eyes blank. 

"Look at him," said Lefty. "He'd give yuh 
de heebie-jeebies! How would yuh like him in 
ya stateroom, like me? Gee, and I don't know 
what he talks. I guess he talks Goiman. He's 
like dat all de time. Just lookin' and his mout' 
like he lef it unbuttoned. ^Gee!' I says to him. 
^Close yer trap, can't yuh?' He don't even wig- 
gle a ear at me! And his pants, say, dey come 
up under his arm-pits! He'd otta come to the 
Gym every day like me." Grandma Grube beck- 
oned to Christiansen. 

"I'm afraid that man has hurt himself," she 
said. "He looks as though some awful thing 
had happened to him." Painfully she toiled 
across the shifting floor on Christiansen's arm and 



sat herself beside the gray-faced man. Presently 
they were talking together. It was the first time 
that any one but Lefty had spoken to him since 
he had been on the ship and he had spoken to no 
one. Immersed in misery and doubt, driven out 
of Germany with the overwhelming misfortunes 
of his life, he had sat alone, looking at his fate. 
He was not a clever man, but he had imagina- 
tion. He could see the difficulties awaiting him 
in a new country as he realized the horrible and 
overwhelming force of the storm, which now had 
risen to a maniacal point. The wind and the waves 
tore at the vessel with giant hands, as though to 
rend it apart. There was a pause in the poker 

The doctor looked around wildly, got up and 
fled from the smoking-room. 

"Gee!" said Lefty. "Scared! Can you tie 
dat? So scared he's seasick! He's been sea- 
sick right along." He pitched down on Mrs. 
Rivers. "Well, how yuh makin' out? Look a 
little pale. Yuh'd better have a drink." 


"Thanks/^ said Mrs. Rivers, faintly. "Thanks, 
I will." She had had a good many drinks since 
early morning, but never many with one person 
and not having been observed to drink, she did 
not feel she had been drinking, because she felt 
quite as she did when, overcome with boredom 
and disillusion, she would order a bottle of 
cognac in her room and sip at it. Now, with each 
drink, she was becoming more and more refined. 
Now, when she tipped her liqueur glass to her 
lips, her little finger stuck out at right angles, 
and she held her head a little on one side. Un- 
derneath her light drunkenness, she was terrified, 
isolated and frozen by her terror. She felt the 
vessel's insignificance and the storm's wrath and 
she felt her own intense isolation from all the 
people round about her. 

"It's getting bad," she said to Mrs. Hassen- 

"Yes," said Mrs. Hassenberg. "I hate storms. 
I hate them. They're so frightfully uncomfort- 
able! You get lame in your bunk and there's no 
place to go and it's just dreadful." 

"Uncomfortable!" thought Mrs. Rivers. A 
dark fury welled up in her against this beautiful 



and composed woman sitting beside her, who was 
only uncomfortable while it seemed as if Mrs. 
Rivers' arms and legs were bathed in an anguish 
of fear. Fear crawled down her back and 
clutched her with an iron grip. She ached with 
pain, her shoulders hurt and the back of her neck, 
and she ached with fear. It was cold fear that 
didn't give way or break down in the relief of 

"There was a woman near my stateroom 
scared to death," she told Mrs. Hassenberg. 
"She was having hysteria. I heard her scream- 
ing, ^Achdulieber Gott! Achdulieber Gott!^ 
Nein! Nein!' And the stewardess hushed her, 
^It's all right! It's all right!' but she screamed, 
^ We're sinking! I know we're sinking!' " 

It soothed her to tell this story, as though the 
woman's hysteria gave her vicarious relief. She 
managed to inch herself along to the next table 
where Mrs. Donovan sat, had another drink and 
told it again. With Lefty's help, she gained Mrs. 


Heflinger's table. Mrs. Heflinger sat, her gray 
hair piled up rigidly. There was something fan- 
tastic that her hair should be immaculate in this 
storm. How had she done it? How did she 
manage to balance herself in this shifting, swing- 
ing world long enough to accomplish a coiffure? 

^^Try a cognac," urged Mrs. Rivers. "It'll 
strengthen you.'' Her voice took on a note of 
sympathy, for she was really a simple and kind- 
hearted woman and after she had gotten used to 
them, she had become attached to the strange 
creatures who were her fellow passengers and now 
her fellow sufferers. "Do you know," she said, 
"people downstairs are having hysteria? Fright- 
ened to death. I heard their cries." She repeated 
her story. It suited the temper of the smoking- 
room. Soon it was being repeated among the 
Goods and Bads alike, that in the staterooms, 
women were having hysteria and were going al- 
most insane from the fright of this storm. 

Discomfort and misery had found a common 
denominator for the Goods and Bads. The gam- 
blers formed a hard, alien core in the smoking- 
room. It was terrifying to see them playing on 



and on throughout the storm. As the storm grew 
worse and roared more and more furiously, they 
seemed to settle into harder contours. 

The dull eyes of the people sitting around the 
edges of the smoking-room fastened themselves 
on the gamblers, fascinated. The smoking-room 
was still and quiet within the storm's raving fury. 
To break this sinister quiet the red-headed Pole 
went up and began banging the "Merry Widow" 
on the piano. The old waltz tinkled out. As 
though to defy the storm the Stengel boys got 
up with Triidchen and Poupoulie to dance. The 
little Russian girls looked at each other and with 
the air of those about to defy death, they also 
danced. Their fat husbands lay, collapsed and 
yellow, on the sofa. The girls' fresh-colored 
faces had sallow tones but gallantly they danced 
their little dance. 

The ship was now pitching and rolling in a 
corkscrew motion and the dancers would carom 
down and unable to stop themselves, would land, 
apologetic and laughing, on top of the tables or 
against the heavy chairs. No one protested. It 
cheered the people to see such things as dancing. 


"Do you want to dance?" Christiansen asked 

"If one can call it dancing," she said. "Yes, 
Pm tired of sitting still." He guided her very 
slowly and then at the height of the motion he 
stood still, balancing himself, holding her firmly. 
He saw her with new eyes, as though he had not 
been with her all day. He saw she was different 
from the quiet girl who had talked sensibly with 
him. She seemed free and liberated, as though 
she were a wild sea-bird. She seemed to him both 
innocent and untamed, wild like the creatures who 
lived among her woods. As he held her closely, 
suddenly the idea came to Christiansen how sweet 
she would be to kiss. 

When the vessel lurched, they only laughed 
at each other's awkwardness. The waves lifted 
her long hull out of the water, so that for sec- 
onds her nose was buried as though for a final 
plunge and her propeller whirled in space like 
a monstrous airship, but Christiansen and Elsa 
trusted the ship as if it were dry land. 
[ 193 ] 


"You don't mind the storm," he said. She 
shook her head. 

"I'd like to go outside. What would happen 
if we went outside?" 

"We might get swept overboard," said Chris- 
tiansen, "but it wouldn't be probable. Not if we 
kept to leeward. We'd get soaked most likely." 

"I wouldn't mind," she said. "I want to go 

"Come then," said Christiansen, and he opened 
the smoking-room door more as a gesture, for 
he thought it would be guarded, but there was 
no guard there. No one thought of going on 
deck in this furious smother. The lighted deck 
yawned blank and empty against the immeasur- 
able darkness of the sea, where one could dimly 
perceive the furious crests of waves. 

Beyond the deck house of the smoking-room 
there was a bay of shelter. They stepped within 
this. The storm had not abated. Mountains of 
black water ran past them. Christiansen braced 
against the wall of the smoking-room, the frail 
barrier of wood, iron and glass that kept those 
inside from the appalling realization of the 
storm's fury. 



"Steady yourself on me," said Christiansen and 
though he spoke loudly, the words came to her 
minute and from far-off, as though the storm tore 
them from his lips as he spoke them and she 
caught only their echo as they were whirled into 
the blackness. 

"Put your arms around me," he said. He put 
his arms around her, also. It was as though her 
soft body melted into his. They seemed to live 
in the sounding hollow of the storm. It screamed 
on with its incredible rage, tearing furiously at the 
vessel, now, as though in blind fury, now as if 
with cold and conscious intent of deliberately 
doing away with the vessel and those within it. 

The passion and fury of the storm seemed to 
enter into Christiansen. He took the girl closer 
in his arms and kissed her. She yielded herself 
to him, gave herself up utterly to his kiss. She 
seemed more possessed by him, more his, giv- 
ing herself to him with less reserve than ever his 
wife had, his wife who loved him so much. After 
this kiss, she was his, more his own than any one 
had been, though he had only kissed her, while 
the fury of the storm screamed past them. 

A great cloud of spray whirled on the deck and 



Spattered close to them. "I must have gone crazy 
to have come out here," thought Christiansen. 
He realized tardily that this was danger, that 
at any moment a wave might overwhelm them 
even in this shelter. The list to port had in- 
creased. Looking up about him, Christiansen 
could barely discern the funnels, swaying upward 
at unnatural angles. In the darkness, the ship 
seemed a point of phosphorescent light, frightfully 
agitated within the storm. 

"With the next roll we'll make for the smok- 
ing-room," Christiansen cried to Elsa, who clung 
to him, her face bright and luminous, like a jflame 
in darkness. 

With a motion that had both haste and delibera- 
tion, the ship swung far over. Christiansen clung 
to a rail and braced. 

Inside the smoking-room, the people at tables 
and sitting on the benches gazed absently at the 
dancers, who though they lurched and danced in 
small steps round and round in one place, were 
a reassuring spectacle. Here and there, a woman's 
voice chirped out fragments of conversation. 

Then the lights went out. As though his hands 
worked mechanically and of themselves, the red- 



headed Pole played another bar of the waltz. 
Then his hands crashed in discord and for a mo- 
ment total silence held the smoking-room, as 
though every one held his breath, appalled by 
the darkness. Then into the silence came the sob- 
bing of a woman's voice. The silence of the 
others was more intense. 

"What shall I do!" she cried. "What shall 
I do?" And still the darkness endured. 

With haste and yet deliberation the ship swung 
completely over on its side and lay there. And 
with its swinging, the dancers who were clinging 
to each other were hurled down the steep incline. 
There was the noise of the shattering of glass. 

Now as the ship lay quietly, a moan went up 
from the passengers. 

"What is it?" 

"What's the matter?" The buzz of panic. 
Fear roused them. A man's voice screamed: 

"Let me get out!" There was the sound of 
a fall and a noise of something trailing across 
the floor as though on hands and knees. They 
were stunned with disaster, weighed down with 
the frightful blackness. 

On the other side of the room, steins and 


glasses crashed. There was a noise of shifting 
bodies. Panic was imminent. In another mo- 
ment, the people would be fighting in the dark- 
ness with one another, fighting on the steep incline 
of the smoking-room floor, trying to get out — 
where? They were poised on the edge of panic, 
as water may be poised before it falls over the 
edge of a precipice. 

Into the cavernous darkness shot a ray of light, 
the steward with an electric torch. His voice rang 
out, reassuringly. 

"It's all right, ladies and gentlemen! Don't 
be afraid, Meine Damen! The lights will be on 
in a moment! " The oblong of the smoking-room 
door was visible at his side, inclined at an ap- 
palling angle. Voices called out, 

"What is it? What is it?'' An officer behind 
him, also with a torch, pronounced, 

"The lights will be on. Only be quiet. Stay 
still until the lights are on." There were sighs 
of relief. The tension of the moment before 



had snapped. A dark shape on the smoking-room 
floor rose to his feet. 

The officer switched the light around the smok- 
ing-room, disclosing gaping mouths, eyes staring 
in terror, gray faces. Grandma Grube had 
Lefty's hand in hers, patting it, saying, 

"There! There!" as one comforts a frightened 
child. "You see, I told you," she said, "the lights 
will be on soon." Now Mrs. Rivers' face leaped 
out, a mask of terror. Gentility terrorized. For 
even in the extreme moment of fear, she had 
retained some control of herself. She was still un- 
conquerably genteel. Mrs. Donovan's face now 
showed itself, calm and indomitable, a little stern, 
and as the light revealed the shaken form of Joe, 
she remarked in a voice, shocking in its loudness, 

"You sit up, Joe, and behave yourself." The 
two little Russian brides were locked in one an- 
other's arms, braced against a table, their faces 
blanched with fear. But on the old doctor's face, 
there was a serene and expectant smile, as though 
by his age and infirmity he was removed above the 
fear of death and could look upon the terror of 
others as a remarkably instructive spectacle of 
[ 199 I 


mass emotion. A murmur went around the smok- 

"You see, it's all right. The lights will be on." 
Husbands repeated this to wives and wives to hus- 
bands. The straying bar of light came across 
the poker table where the men sat rigid and ex- 
pectant, their legs stuck out, their arms braced, 
waiting. On diflFerent tables, men grasped firmly 
the handles of their steins to prevent them from 
being thrown upon the floor. 

As the light played around, the ship slowly 
righted itself and swayed slowly over on the long 
roll that brought the ports on the other side under 
green water. The lights came on slowly. The 
defect in the secondary system had been remedied. 

"A-ah!" came from fifty throats. People 
breathed again. Exclamations and threads of hys- 
terical laughter mingled with demands for more 
Schnapps and more beer. 

"Some champagne to celebrate!" cried Lefty. 
"Won't you have a little champagne?" 

"I think," Mrs. Rivers said coyly, a vague color 
coming back to her frightened face, "I think I'd 
better not mix my drinks." 

"Aw, it won't hurt you!" Lefty said reassur- 
[ 200 ] 


ingly. "Say, that was a hell of a note!" Chris- 
tiansen, his arm through Elsa's, came in and 
looked meaningly at the officer who met his gaze. 
He knew that Christiansen was a seaman, for he 
had seen him in the fo'c'sle and they had talked 
together. Christiansen said in a low tone: 

"They must have lost the wheel." The officer 
did not answer. Christiansen looked around the 

"I don't think they know what happened," he 

"They know the lights went out. I was afraid 
there would be a panic," the officer answered, 
in a low tone as though he were even now afraid 
that they would stampede in fear. 

At this moment the officer near Christiansen 
was pushed violently aside and the Baroness, her 
fur coat over her gray flannel nightgown and in 
blue knitted slippers, was hurled into the smok- 
ing-room. She ran forward, caught hold of the 
edge of a table and then stood looking about her, 
a figure of fear, as though she and her absurdi- 
[ 201 ] 


ties embodied all their terrors. Her hair stuck 
out at odd angles about her face and her yellow 
eyes glared around. 

"What's the matter? '^ she chattered. "What's 
happened? What's the matter? I was lying in 
my bed until the shoes and the valises slapping 
back and forth got me up. Heavens, how could 
I get up? The lights went out and there she 
lay right on her side. She didn't come up any 
more! Did you notice it? She didn't come up 
any more! All the people screaming! What a 

Worn with the perpetual pitching and tossing 
of the boat, exhausted with anxiety and some 
gutted with fear, the occupants of the smoking- 
room began drifting off to bed. No one wanted 
to go. But there was nothing else to do. Peo- 
ple called for more drinks. There were no state- 
room parties. Men and women suggested them 
with feeble defiance and then did not go on with 
them. Every one had the feeling that bad as it 
was up here it would be worse below. Below 
the air would be full of groans of the seasick, full 
of noises of misery, of those who had not been 
well enough, even, to have what poor solace the 
[ 202 ] 


smoking-room afforded. The idea of going below 
terrified Mrs. Rivers. She had a small stateroom 
entirely by herself, which finally had been ar- 
ranged for her by the purser. And now she was 
sorry she had parted company from the German- 
American women. 

"I feel as if I were going to be sealed up in a 
tomb/' she said to Lefty. "My room is hardly 
bigger than a coffin." She laughed nervously. 

"Have another drink," said Lefty. "Gee, you 
shouldn't let yourself get so scairt." 

"I don't know how Pm going to get down to 
my stateroom," Poupoulie told Moe Rapp. Her 
lank hair fell around her face. Her forehead 
was shiny with sweat and her red hands were 
damp. Her long flat feet protruded loosely out- 
ward. She looked like a dislocated doll with 
China blue eyes. She was frightened and yet she 
looked, her eyes full of meaning, at Moe. "My 
legs will hardly hold me," she said, and she 

"Let me help you down," Moe muttered. He 


had a feeling of desperation. He thought this 
girl plain and stupid but for some reason she 
attracted him. He had been with her a great 
deal and had listened to her long story about her 
aunt's ill-treatment and she had finally confessed 
to him her seduction. The fact that her lover 
was now dead, in her mind purified the story and 
left her rather like a young widow. She had told 
him the story in detail. Indeed, as she had told 
it to one person after another the scenes had re- 
constructed themselves in her mind vividly and 
she had been able to remember small happenings 
that she had long forgotten. 

"I wonder what there is about her," he thought. 
"She doesn't look like a girl to have affairs and 
yet she does — see how she's acting, and yet she 
seems like a good girl." It puzzled him and 
irritated him. They lurched down the compan- 
ionway and up a corridor. 

"Oh, I'm so frightened," said Poupoulie. "I'm 
so frightened. I can't stand. Please help me." 

"I mustn't go into your stateroom," said Moe 
and he went inside. She sat down on the lower 

"Oh!" she cried. "Oh! I feel faint. Some 


water!" He bathed her head with water. She 
smiled at him and put her arm around his neck. 

"I must go," muttered Moe. 

"The others won't be down for a long time," 
whispered Poupoulie, drawing him close to her. 

Frightened, Moe Rapp staggered down the 
corridor which was beginning to fill with people. 
"I must keep away from that girl," he thought. 
"That's a fine kind of a girl to let me come to 
her stateroom and kiss her! I shall keep away 
from her." And all the time he knew that next 
day he would not keep away from her. "I won- 
der what time those Lithuanians stay out of their 
staterooms?" And he remembered he heard 
Poupoulie say that there was no one in her state- 
room all the afternoon. Every one went into the 
men's staterooms. He was excited and stirred and 
miserable. Tears of vexation rose in his eyes. 
"Oh, damn it all!" he thought. "Damn it all!" 


As Moe Rapp hurried down the corridor he 
almost ran into Mrs. Hassenberg. They both 
apologized and the eyes of both of them fell for 
[ 205 ] 


a second on Mrs. Rivers who stood swaying in 
the doorway of her cabin, clad in her pajamas. 
Her dark hair fell around her white face, her 
eyes gleamed. She looked young and happy. 
Two or three of the young German boys, who 
had anemic faces and whose pale ears stuck out, 
stood giggling in the corridor before her, both em- 
barrassed and delighted. The restraints of years 
had dropped from her. She was herself, drunken, 
happy, free. Not the onlooker, no longer vi- 
cariously savoring the sins of others, but the chief 
actor. She had gone over from the Goods to 
the Bads. Her gentleness, her softness of speech, 
did not leave her. She was no gutter-snipe to lose 
her lady-like utterances through a little drink. 
She leaned against her door- jamb with one hand. 
"Come into my room, dear boys," she said. 
"Dear, dear boys, come in." Drink had released 
her. She felt free and happy. She was doing 
what she had always wanted to do. She had 
drunk to release her from fear, but her drinking 
had released her from everything. Always she 
had watched the women who lived outside the 
pale of convention or who took their furtive ex- 
cursions outside, and no one had gossiped more 
[ 206 ] 


bitterly than she. Now she stood drunk and said 
to the giggling boys, "Come in, little boys." 
Lefty came down the corridor. He turned around 
and said viciously, 

"What are you grinning at, you Heinies? 
What's the matter with you? Can't you see the 
lady's pie-eyed? She's gotta right to be pie-eyed, 
ain't she? What's eatin' ya? Get outta here!" 
He pushed Mrs. Rivers gently back into her state- 
room, went in and locked the door. 

"I give dat oP goil a good time she won't fer- 
get!" he thought virtuously, when he came out. 



"God!" said Gottlieb, "I held my breath when 
the lights went out. I expected to be trampled. 
There's a terror about a panic in the dark. 
Weren't you frightened?" 

"I was outside." 

"Outside? You mean on the deck, outside?" 

"Yes," said Christiansen. "Elsa and I went 
out for a breath of air." 

"A breath of air! Outside! You mean you 
took the girl outside? You could have been 
washed overboard! You're crazy!" 

"I suppose so," Christiansen said absently. He 
looked around the stateroom. It seemed unreal 
and unrelated to the moment on the deck. 

Zucher, the little man who played checkers, lay 
on his back, his face a ghastly yellow. He was 
sleeping with the weariness of one who has been 
racked by seasickness. He had not moved from 
his bunk all day. 

The gangling red-headed Pole was groaning to 


himself with abandon, frightened, isolated by his 
language and by the storm and plagued with the 
devils of uncertainty. 

Unmitigated misery and fear had closed in on 
him. One after another of his dignities had gone. 
He had abandoned his pride and his manhood. 
"Poor fellow, he's just a scared piece of meat," 
thought Christiansen. His mind floated away, 
plunged into the black darkness of the deck whose 
core had been Elsa and himself. Gottlieb said, 

"For God's sake, what made you go out?" 

"The smoking-room was stifling," Christiansen 

"I don't understand you, at all," said Gottlieb 
angrily. He had become fond of Christiansen 
and this kind of irrationality offended him. "You 
have a right to risk your own life if you want to, 
even though you are a married man, but you have 
no right to take with you that girl! What if a 
wave had come along? Where would you be 
now?" he scolded. "I have never heard of any- 
thing so foolish! — ^you go out prowling at night 
on a deck that slants as steeply as the roof of a 
house, for the pleasure of being washed over- 



"Well, what if I had been washed overboard? 
What if we both had been washed overboard? 
What have we got to look forward to?'' It was 
as though Gottlieb's words had tapped a well of 
molten anger within Christiansen. "What's there 
for me? What's there for her? She's going to 
marry a man she's never seen. What a life! 
And I — I'm a disillusioned Revolutionist! I'm 
a man, I tell you, who's a traitor! A man who 
hasn't got the guts to work for the thing he be- 
lieves in! So what if we had been washed over- 

"You've gone crazy," Gottlieb said quietly. 
"Quite completely insane. You haven't fallen 
in love with Elsa, have you?" Christiansen's ex- 
plosion was over. He grunted, but didn't answer 
and climbed into the upper berth. He lay staring 
wide awake into the half-light. 

The boat settled down slowly. The furious 
noise continued unabated. Below stairs it was 
punctuated with unexplained slams, noise of 
breaking, things falling, of clashing. The rattle 
of heavy glass water bottles in wooden racks, cur- 
tain rings grating, the slow shifty sliding of bags 
and shoes. The vessel plowed doggedly through 


ponderous head seas, up, propeller clattering, roll, 
down. For a moment it would seem as though 
every one slept from exhaustion, then the night 
would be punctuated by a panicky buzzing of bells, 
hurrying footsteps. Down the hall, Christiansen 
could hear a woman groaning, "Oy! Oy! Oy!" 
softly, with a note of absolute terror. 

From time to time came the noise of hard 
retching of the seasick and then the hurried buzz 
of the bell. "What if we had gone overboard," 
he thought to himself bitterly. "What if we 

He loved Elsa. What then? What future for 
them? That first moment of surprise when he had 
held her in his arms was the only moment that 
would be unshared with the shadows of to-morrow. 

What next? The ship groaned and creaked. 
What next? The engine throbbed. A few days 
more and Elsa would be married. A few days more 
and he would be at work, saving every penny, 
living a life of meager penury. Every expendi- 
ture counted so that he could support his family 
and himself and yet save money for the operation. 
His mind ran around and around in the squirrel 



cage of days. It looked up this alley of time and 
that, trying to find a way out. 

There was no way out. 

He was trapped and Elsa was trapped. If she 
could get off the ship and come with him, he could 
then fulfill his obligation and at the same time be 
with her. That wouldn't do. Elsa couldn't get 
off the ship without marrying. Well, when she 
was once off she could run away. That wouldn't 
do. Why not? Well, he knew Elsa wouldn't. 
He knew she wouldn't just as he knew he would 
not abandon his wife, who was suffering and help- 
less because of the son she had borne him. 

What did Elsa owe to this man who had to send 
to Germany to get a woman to work for him? 
When she was married to him she would feel 
as if she owed him something. She would be his 
wife. She would have his name whether she 
wanted it or not. He heard Gottlieb's voice as it 
had sounded, anxious and solicitous, "You haven't 
fallen in love, have you?" A torch in darkness. 
He hadn't realized it in words. He had been 
filled to overflowing with successive waves of emo- 
tion. Elsa in his arms. The boat lying like 


a wounded leviathan on its side. The sudden heady 
shock of danger. 

Now he lay, staring into the darkness, exhausted 
as though he had been swimming too far. Trying 
to invent a future for himself and Elsa and com- 
ing wearily to the knowledge that there was no 

When Elsa woke up the next morning, the 
Baroness craned her head over the edge of her 
bunk to speak to Mrs. Hassenberg. Her curls 
bobbed on either side of her head. Her cupid bow 
had come oif her mouth and the mascara had 
flowed and made smudges around her eyes. She 
seemed like the image of dead carnival. Carnival 
gone to seed, carnival the day after. 

"Did you sleep any last night?" 

"Yes," said Mrs. Hassenberg. 

"You slept!" said Mrs. Murray. "Pm sore 
from bracing myself. Weren't you frightened at 
all?" Mrs. Hassenberg said no, she wasn't fright- 
ened, in an apologetic tone. 

"Isn't it ever going to stop?" the Baroness de- 


manded of the universe. "It's just as bad now as 
it was yesterday. Is there no end to this storm? 
It seems someway better to me in the daytime." 

"My poor husband's perfectly miserable," said 
Mrs. Murray. "He can't be seasick. He wants 
to be, but he can't." Elsa listened to them as 
from far off. The Baroness' voice had wakened 
her and she had come back to consciousness with a 
feeling of something wonderful having happened 
to her and not being able to quite remember. 

Then the thought, "Christiansen!" enveloped 
her. In a few minutes she would see him again. 
This thought floated her softly along, as though on 
a current. When Mrs. Murray had finished dress- 
ing, when the Baroness was gone, fleetly, fleetly, 
she would put on her clothes. 

Then across her feeling of delight, which 
seemed to protect her from the noise of the storm, 
from discomfort, which shut out fear, came the 
thought, ^^He^s married^ And immediately, she 
thought, "Well, what of it?" "But you're going 
to be married." "What of it? What of it?" she 
cried angrily to these disturbers. "There's to- 
day!" No one could take to-day from her except 



Now she needed his reassurance. Her tranquil- 
lity was broken. Impatience seized her. Mrs. 
Murray was trying to wash. She had no balance 
for the boat and lurched this way and that, la- 
menting. The Baroness was putting on a coarse 
stocking in her bunk. She wet the tip of her 
handkerchief with her tongue and wiped the mas- 
cara off around her eyes. No one had ever seen 
her wash. Her clothes gave out an unwashed 
smell like a closet in which things had been long 
shut up. She assured every one from time to time 
that if the storm went on much longer she would 
go mad. 

"I have seen much worse storms," she said. 
"Tropical storms, but they were over. The wind 
would pounce down upon you and blow for a few 
hours, then it would be done." 

Mrs. Hassenberg always had her breakfast in 
bed. Indeed, she spent a great deal of her time 
there, finding this was the most comfortable place 
to be. She read a good deal and raced through 
one volume of the ship's library after another. 
She lay quietly absorbed in her own reflections. 
She had adjusted herself to the storm. 

Elsa watched the other women with agony. 



Would they never be through? Oh, it would take 
lier such a little while to wash and put on her 
dress! Mrs. Murray drew on one garment after 
another underneath her nightgown and kimono, 
groaning and complaining. 

"How," she cried, "am I ever going to get into 
my corsets? How?'' 

When Christiansen' got to the smoking-room in 
spite of the universal sense of disaster and of in- 
security, he perceived that he, alone, had realized 
how unusual a thing had happened the night be- 
fore. An Atlantic liner had been out of control. 
It was unbelievable} new in his experience of the 
sea. He heard the Baroness saying to Elsa and 
Mrs. Murray, 

"Did you know we lost the wheel, last night?" 

"How do you know?" Mrs. Murray answered. 

"The assistant purser told me," she put her 
finger to her lips. "Shhh-h ! He said he shouldn't 
have. He came up to me, laughing and rubbing 
his hands. You know, he's been quite a lot with 
those Bohemian girls. They're very sly about it. 



They pretend to be very correct during the day. 
Quietly and by night — " She stopped. "Well, 
he said to me, ^How did you feel when they lost 
the wheel last night?' ^How could they lose 
the wheel?' I said. ^You're joking. How careless 
of them to lose the wheel! Where did they find 
it?' And he just laughed at me as if I had said 
something funny." All over the smoking-room, 
people were talking about the lost wheel. 

Christiansen smiled with the superiority of a 
seaman. For all visualized it no doubt as had the 
Baroness, the wheel, the great steering-gear mis- 
laid casually. 

Disquieting rumors flew around the smoking- 
room, as the vessel charged into the steady roar of 
the storm. It had now a sustained fury as if it 
would never blow itself out. The gale was now 
directly head on and the vessel was hindered by 
a mountainous head sea. In the storm, the vessel 
seemed to have shrunk until it had become minute. 

Christiansen had made up his mind he wouldn't 
talk to Elsa again. He'd stay in the f o'c'sle. He'd 
vanish. All this now seemed ridiculous. Now, in 
the heart of the gale, nothing seemed to matter. 
When Elsa saw him, her face lighted as if the sun 


was shining on it and she came up to him as if she 
had been his promised bride. 

Christiansen looked around swiftly, searching 
for a place where there might be a moment's pri- 
vacy. There was an open space between the place 
where Captain Hurley was sitting with Mrs. Dono- 
van and an elderly Finnish couple who had been 
wretched throughout the voyage and had made 
few acquaintances with any one. Elsa followed 
Christiansen without a word. For a moment they 
sat in silence and then as though the whole subject 
had been discussed between them, Christiansen 
asked blankly, 

"What are we going to do?" She shook her 

"What can we do?" she answered. 

"This is a terrible thing!" said Christiansen, 
staring in front of him. 

It hadn't occurred to her that it was terrible. 
She looked at him in surprise. "Don't feel like 
that," she said gently. 

"How can I help feeling like that?" he burst 
out. "I find you and I fall in love with you. I've 
never been in love before. Never! I'm fond of 
my wife, the thing I feel about you doesn't alter 



the thing I feel about her. Not for a moment. 
She's sweet and good. But she's outside me. She's 
different from me. She's not part of me. I 
feel that giving you up is as impossible as to give 
up my arms or my legs. And I must see you go 
to some one else. What could be worse?" Elsa 
considered a moment. 

"It would have been worse if we had never 
met," she said. "A great deal worse — for me. 
Even if I'm never to see you again. No matter 
what happens, nothing can take this from me. 
You can't take It away, even." She smiled at him, 
but her eyes were serious. It was as though she 
had seen through his secret thought, as though 
some way she had surprised him thinking, "We 
must stop this now. We must all stop before it's 
too late." It was as though she said, to him, "Be- 
fore it's too late? Too late for what?" He 
couldn't have told. Too late not to have hurt 
her, for Christiansen assumed responsibility and 
now he felt responsible concerning Elsa. Now it 
was as if she had said to him, "You cannot hurt 
me. I welcome whatever may come. If you never 
speak to me again, you can't take away what I've 
had." Her acceptance of life calmed him. She 


was not in revolt. She was like a strong tree, tak- 
ing the seasons as they came. He seemed to him- 
self feverish and futile and what a comrade of his 
had called "cerebral." 

"We have to-day," she said, "and we have 
to-morrow. Why do we need to look beyond to- 
morrow? Why should we let to-morrow spoil 
to-day?" Again she smiled at him and her smile 
seemed to say, "And even if you let to-morrow 
spoil to-day, you cannot take from me yesterday." 
How magnificent she seemed and how immacu- 
lately young. How untouched. It renewed Chris- 
tiansen's life to be with her and yet at that mo- 
ment, his wife, already so used, so worn, had 
never seemed more touching. He could see 
her small roughened fingers, busy with some work, 
and her face, from which the color had faded so 
swiftly. Oh, she had beauty, too, and loveliness, 
some quality to wring the heart that this girl 

"It's so confusing!" Christiansen said aloud. 

"It's so damn confusing!" Elsa smiled again, her 

grave smile, but her eyes were surprised. To her 

it wasn't confusing. Why should it be? She need 

[ 220 ] 


feel no responsibility for Christiansen as he felt 
for her. 

The ship's run had been put up again. Chris- 
tiansen strolled up and glanced at it. It showed 
a smaller run than the day bef ore, but Christiansen 
knew that even this had been arranged. He had 
talked to the sailor who had been steersman the 
night before and who had told him they had made 
sternway during the night. 

"We'll be two if not three days late/' he said 
to Elsa. 

"We'll probably be the only people on the ship 
who'll be glad/' said Elsa. 

The atmosphere of the smoking-room had light- 
ened. They had lived through the night after 
all. People were less afraid than the day before. 
They had begun to resign themselves to discom- 
fort and to accustom themselves to the inhuman 
noise of the storm. Lefty's roommate sat by him- 
self, his face gray, staring ahead of him. 

"Look at dat," Lefty said to Mrs. Donovan. 
"Dat's how he lays. I don't t'ink he sleeps. I'm 


a light sleeper. All night I can hear him creak- 
ing. Talks to himself, too, you watch his lips move. 
See dat! See his lips move? Talkin' to himself, 
but you can't hear him. Only he can hear him- 
self. Something otta be done. Somebody otta 
talk to him. Say, don't you want to go over and 
talk to him?" he asked Captain Hurley. "Honest, 
dat fella ain't right. Pve seen fellas going bugs 
before now. He's so scared he's bugs and it ain't 
only dat." Mrs. Donovan's eyes rested specula- 
tively on the frightened man, who looked up 
startled as Captain Hurley sat down beside him. 
"Well, what you think?" said Lefty. 

"I think what you think," said Mrs. Donovan, 
who pressed her lips together. 

"What do you think. Ma?" asked Joe. 

"Don't be a fool, Joe!" said Mame. "Ma 
thinks he might kill himself!" 

"I didn't say so," said Mrs. Donovan. "I 
wouldn't call any fellow out of his name like 
that. I've no patience with soocides, myself. 
Didn't my own cousin's roadhouse go down be- 
cause two fellas and a girl went and killed they- 
selves there inside a year? ^What they want to 
pick on me for?' says my cousin. ^If I was a big 


place I could stand it, but a little small place like 
this.' One hanged themselves and two shot 
themselves. Enoughta give any place a bad 
name. You can't do business with soocides all 
over the place. Did you reason with him, James?" 
she asked the captain. 

"You can't make much out of him," he re- 
ported. "He said it's the noises. He don't dare 
go to sleep because of the noise." 

"Wouldn't that eat you?" said Lefty. "I knew 
he was laying awake a poipuse." 

"He hears the noises louder when he goes to 
sleep — ^voices like people in a shipwreck. He's 
afraid, too, he won't find work when he lands. 
He's in a bad way." 

"You said it," said Lefty. "Look, he's noddin' 
off, now." The man's head was nodding ridicu- 
lously. Mrs. Pincus at the other side of the room 
got up laboriously, steadied herself and then 
lurched forward, sending a stein spinning to the 
ground with a smash. The man awoke, his eyes 
stared ahead of him with horror. His face was 
gray and sweat glistened on it. He arose very 
slowly as though some nightmare still held him 


and with an air of a somnambulist, walked across 
the room. 

Mrs. Donovan watched his progress specula- 

"He's going out on the deck/' she announced. 
"Joe, you'd best go see." 

"He ain't going out, Ma! Hell, Ma!" Joe 
replied. He looked wretched. He couldn't get 
over his seasickness. 

^^You do what I said, Joe!" she snapped at him. 
"You get along quick and see what that fella's do- 
ing. I don't like his looks any. I don't know 
what he's doing!" Lefty was half-way to the 
door with the light rhythm of a boxer and behind 
him Captain Hurley with Joe bringing up the rear, 

Spray hit them in the face. Lefty's roommate 
was already at the rail. With deliberation and 
calm, as though performing something he had 
rehearsed many times in his mind, he climbed the 
rail, shut his eyes and let himself drop. The ship 
started to right itself. They scrambled up its 
mounting incline and hung on the side, looking 
over. An officer came up to them. 


"Passengers not allowed outside, please, to- 
day — " he began. 

"Passenger jumped overboard," Captain Hurley 
told him. 



The ship had plowed through the storm and 
had come out at the other side. The sea was 
wintry, sullen and still agitated. The waves 
crested with white flowed to the horizon which 
jumped ragged and broken. It was cold, un- 
friendly and overcast, one layer of clouds racing 
away from the other. Occasionally, the clouds 
parted for a moment and there would be a dazzle 
of silver, cruel and cold as a gleaming sword. It 
was unfriendly and miserable, but the released 
people swarmed on the deck. People who had 
never been seen before emerged for the first time, 
weak and tottering. 

Every one talked of Anton Fechtner, the man 
who had committed suicide. No one had known 
anything about him as long as he was alive, now 
everybody knew his story. He had, it seemed, 
talked to Grandma Grube. In a burst of misery 
he had told her his fears and his anguish. 

"IVe a mind,'' he had told her, "to jump over- 
board. That would be the wise thing to do. How 
[ 226 ] 


am I going to live through the storm? I'm 
frightened and it does me no good to tell me not 
to be frightened. My knees tremble. They're 
like water. I can't sleep nights because I'm 
afraid I'll drown in my berth. Drowned like a rat 
in a trap. What a horrible death! I hear water 
flowing in cataracts. I wake up. It's only the 
blood in my ears. And what shall I do in Amer- 
ica? How shall I get used to things there? I 
don't know the language. I only came because 
there was nothing to do in Germany. No place. 
Nothing else. This one chance." 

"We're all in God's hands," said Grandma 
Grube, for this fact was to her a comfort day and 
night. It meant nothing to Anton Fechtner. 

"Ah," he said. "You feel that way. You're 
fortunate. You feel that you live in an ordered, 
kind world. I live in a world where there is 
only blind chance! We're no more orderly than 
flies humming around fly-paper. Some get caught. 
Some don't. I'm caught like a fly." He stared 
ahead of him with haggard eyes. 

The picture of this man, terrified by the present, 
afraid of the future and finally putting an end 


to his misery in who knows what final excess of 
terror, inflamed people's imagination. 

"Pve as much reason as he to be afraid," Gott- 
lieb told Dr. Grimm, as they walked up and down 
the deck together. "I don't know exactly what I'm 
going to do. It's an adventure. I'm glad to get 
out of the old traces. The war ended my work 

^^What did you use to do?" asked the doctor. 

^^I'm an anachronism," Gottlieb replied. "I 
used to make fine harnesses till 19 14. The great 
families in all German cities kept up their horses 
even when they had cars, though of course the 
business had been dwindling for the past years. 
Now, I'm a master workman whose business is 
practically non-existent." He laughed. "What's 
the riddle of personality?" he asked. "Why should 
this man be appalled at going to a new country 
and why should it seem like entering into a new 
existence without death to me?" 

"Glands," said the doctor, "endocrines! We 
may in the end solve the riddle of personality 
[ 228 ] 


through them. A few drops more of one chemical 
compound in the blood and a few drops less of 
another and you shift a temperament. The death 
of that man," he went on, "is like a pall upon the 
ship. My two charmers will talk about nothing 
else. They sit sighing, ^Poor fellow! Poor fel- 
low!' He has made them realize that life is short 
and they don't like to think about it. And they,'' 
went on the doctor with his beneficent and cynical 
smile, "they remind me of the strange persistence 
of life. Look at me. I'm well along in the seven- 
ties. I'm impotent. I've rheumatism. I'm all but 
senile and yet these two ripe beauties of fifty are 
disputing my person. What do they see in me? 
Possibly some money. A larger existence, but 
adventure always. As long as you're a man you 
can always be an adventure to some woman, Gott- 
lieb. There's never a sock so old and hole-y, that 
it cannot find an old shoe to fit it!" 

Christiansen had drawn Elsa's chair to one side 
beneath the boats where they could talk without 
being overheard. 



"It's conspicuous here," Elsa said. 
"Let's go somewhere else, then/' said Christian- 
sen, gently but with bitterness. "Let's bow our 
heads to the public opinion of this filthy boat, by 
all means. Let us say to each other that where 
Trudchen and Fritzie and Poupoulie are willing 
to risk their reputations to satisfy a passion or a 
desire, we who have fallen in love, won't risk the 
babble of these people so we can have what passes 
for privacy." Elsa's eyes filled with tears. 
"Don't," said Christiansen. "I shouldn't have 
talked like that. I'm only furious that there's no 
place where we can be by ourselves. There's no 
chance of our being together, just at this moment 
when I want to be at least alone with you. There 
will always be people about. When the lights 
went out on the deck will probably be our only 
moment alone. I wish we'd gone overboard then! " 
This idea haunted Christiansen and now Anton 
Fechtner's suicide brought it to his mind again. 
"I wouldn't have minded going that night," said 
Elsa, "but now I don't want to die. Now I want 
to live." He took her brown hand in his and 
looked at its long fingers and he wished that he 
[ 230 ] 


could forget himself and not feel the curious eyes 
of the people that passed him. 

"God, what swine there are on this ship!" he 
said. He hated all that they meant. 

"Horrible?'' said Elsa. "I think they're very 
kind. What's the matter with them?" 

"I hate them," said Christiansen. "They're the 
servants of the Capitalists. I hate the Capitalists, 
but their servants are worse." 

"Forget about them," said Elsa, leaning toward 
him. She didn't know what he meant. She hadn't 
the vaguest social philosophy. What did she care 
to know what he meant? Men were like that. 
They were always getting excited about unimpor- 
tant things. One waited until they were through. 

Mrs. Rivers had remained in bed all next day 
after what she called her panic. She slept rather 
late and waked up, her mouth dry, her head ach- 
ing. She tried to rise. Her head spun around 
and she fell back and rang feebly for the 

"I'm feeling too wretched to go on deck," she 


said. "Bring me some vichy." She drank long 
and exhaustively. "I feel just like some of those 
times I have on land/' she said. From time to time, 
headaches assailed her, a feeling of wretchedness 
and of nausea. She never related this feeling to 
anything she had drunk the day before. 

In Mrs. Rivers' life the word "Katzen jammer" 
did not exist. Her senses, however, were blurred 
against the fear of the storm. Vague pictures of 
the end of the evening floated through her mem- 
ory. Her terror. Then vaguely she remembered 
Lefty. She seemed to remember him in her state- 
room, asking her if she wanted a drink. There 
recollection stopped abruptly. An impenetrable 
curtain of oblivion stood between her and any other 
memory. "It doesn't do to let people like that go 
too far," she thought virtuously. "They don't 
know when to stop." As the day wore on, she felt 
better in spite of the storm and rang again for 
the stewardess. 

"I think I'll have a brandy-and-soda," she said. 
"I think it will settle my stomach." 

"Directly, Madam," said the stewardess, who 
was well aware, as half the ship was, that Mrs. 
[ 232 ] 


Rivers had been more than a little tight the night 

"Dear me, poor lady!" Mrs. Murray sighed. 
"I suppose she was crazy with fear and drank one 
drink after another without realizing." 

"She doesn't look in the least like that kind of 
a woman," said Mrs. Hassenberg, who kept to 
herself the fact she had seen Mrs. Rivers swinging 
in the doorway, asking the giggling German boys 
to come in. It was something to forget. A strange, 
incongruous thing. "Why, she won't even smoke 
in the smoking-room, she's so refined," thought 
Mrs. Hassenberg. 

When Mrs. Rivers finally emerged on deck, 
faltering and pale, Mrs. Hassenberg hurried for- 
ward to help her. She found Mrs. Rivers' deck 
chair and called the steward. Lefty came past. 

"Well, how are yuh?" he said, genially. "I 
was looking for yuh, yesterday. I 'most stopped 
to yuh cabin to ask how yuh was when I didn't see 

"Very kind of you, I'm sure," said Mrs. Rivers, 
icily. She turned away. "You have to keep peo- 
ple like that in their place. I'm afraid I've talked 
to him too much. He's a curious type," she said 
[ 233 ] 


to Mrs. Hassenberg. Lefty stared at her in 

"Well, can you tie dat?'' he said. "High- 
hatting me. I like her noive! An' I give her the 
time of her life!" 

Lefty strolled perplexedly away to where the 
older priests were sitting, recovering from the 
fury of the storm. He had a superstitious rever- 
ence for priests. The German priests on the boat 
liked him. He had their respect. He had had an 
audience with the Pope. 

"How are you. Father?" said Lefty. "Feeling 

"Much better, thank you. Is it true what they 
tell me? That you were there when the poor fel- 
low jumped overboard?" 

"Yeah," said Lefty. "Scairt. Scairt daffy." 

"I've heard about him, but I never saw him. 
Poor fellow," said the priest. He looked upon 
the boat as his parish. He had seen the fear of 
the present and the future peer out of many faces. 
Many of the older men walking up and down in 
[ 234 ] 


front of him on the deck knew as little as Anton 
Fechtner where they were going or how they were 
going to make out. A little more loneliness, a lit- 
tle less balance, and death would also have seemed 
better to them than life. 

The shadow of the suicide brooded over the 

"Have you seen the Doc?" Lefty called out to 
his roommates. "Come to think of it, I ain't seen 
him since he ran out of the smoking-room th' 
other night. He ain't gone overboard, too, has 
he? I guess Pll go see." His legs far apart, he 
straddled off, but lightly, balanced to the motion 
of the ship. 

"Hey, come on out of there!" he called to the 
doctor. "It's time you wuz resurrected!" The 
doctor lifted a pale face. 

"All right," he said. "Say, was it true a fellow 
hopped overboard?" 

"Yeah, my roommate, the fellow I told y'about, 
who was always talkin' to himself. I thought 
you'd gone, too, when I didn't see yuh." 

"I came near it," said the doctor uneasily. "I 
didn't care last night whether I lived or died." 
[ 235 ] 


"Yuh ain't the only one," said Lefty. "There's 
plenty like yuh. There are lots of others would 
'a' liked to hopped off — ^if they couldVe kept on 
their legs!" 

"Yeah, that's what the steward told me." 

"The ship's beginning to give up its dead," 
Lefty consoled him, "but they ain't all up yet. 
Come along and beat dem to it!" 

Soon the doctor was walking on the deck with 

"Say," Lefty was exhorting him, "you wouldn't 
get like yuh are if yuh acted like me. When I 
open my eyes in the morning I have the steward 
bring me a shot o' brandy or whisky. Jess one. 
Den I get a cole bat', den I go to de Gym. Every 
mornun. Say, I been to de Gym every mornun. 
I ain't missed onct. You gotta keep fit in my 
business to keep ya head clear. Dat's why I ain't 
never been a hop-head. I don't say I ain't never 
hit a pipe for fun, but hones', I ain't never snuffed 
no snow! I ain't never had a shot in de arm, 
even!" He was proud of this as he was of his 
hard body. "I keep in condition, I tell yuh. Yuh 
can't have no fun if you don't!" 



"Lots of fun to be had on this boat!" sneered 
the doctor. 

"Say, I could have had fun enough if dat little' 
Goiman goil wit' de red mout' had fallen for me. 
But look at her, tucked away wit' dat young Gqi- 
man fella. He's married, too! It's queer, I otta 
be jealous o' dat guy. I otta want to give him a 
poke in de eye! But I ain't, because I know even 
if he wuz outta de way dat baby wouldn't fall f er 
me. I figgered an' figgered how to get her and I 
can't think." 

Gottlieb's chair had been placed next the elderly 
priest's. He sat down in it. 

"Terrible storm we've been through," the 
Father began. "Terrible warning, the death of 
that poor fellow has been." 

"Yes," Gottlieb agreed. "When you look 
around at some of the people you feel as though it 
might have been almost any one." 

"I'm glad to be going to America," the old man 
said. "It's too sad to look at Germany. The lives 
[ 237 ] 


destroyed, though when we think of the fate of 
Russia and how near in Bavaria we came to it! 
Do you realize there might have been a success- 
ful revolution in Bavaria if it hadn't been for the 
students? The students and the universities! The 
young men turning to the church, that's the hope 
of Germany. Yes, the young men at the universi- 
ties have crushed the hideous specter of Bolshev- 
ism in Germany!" Strange, Gottlieb thought, in 
'48 the universities were the hot-bed of revolu- 
tion. Now they were the training camp of the 
White Guard. 

The deck was filled with people, a good many 
of whom Gottlieb had never seen before. Young 
women and old women and men as well, crawling 
up for the first time in days. As he watched them, 
he speculated as to whether they would turn out 
Good or Bad. 

He made a place in an empty chair for a tot- 
tering, sallow woman, supported by a bird-like 
little creature. The sick woman had delicate fea- 
tures and long slender hands and feet. She was on 
her way to America to try and get a position as gov- 
erness. Gottlieb decided that she was neither a 



Good nor a Bad, but a suffering human being. Her 
fierce little roommate was absorbed in taking care 
of her. Her heart, dried by privation, by loss, was 
putting out green leaves of charity after having 
nothing to feed on for so long. 

A new atmosphere was abroad in all the ship's 
company. The misery of the storm had knit them 
all closer together. They had suffered together 
and they had escaped peril together. Even Anton 
Fechtner's death was an added bond. They knew 
each other much better, they liked each other better 
or hated each other more like people who had lived 
together in the same village for years. 

Mrs. Donovan was walking heavily along the 
deck on Captain Hurley's arm. 

"If you could get soocides to wait — " she was 
saying. She was unable to get away from the sub- 
ject of Anton Fechtner's death. "Poor feller!" 
she said. "I wisht I coulda talked to him. I wisht 
I could have said something to him. If I'd ever 
talked to him, I bet I coulda got him to wait. 
Most soocides wouldn't kill themselves if you 
could get them to wait a minute. You take my 
husband's cousin out on the Pacific Coast. She 


was married to a young dentist and was goin' to 
have a baby. Say, they was crazy about each 
other. Crazy because they was going to have a 
baby. You never see two people care the way 
they done. Well, when the baby was coming, he 
mos' went dippy. He walked up and down the 
floor muttering, ^Pve killed her! Pve killed her!' 
Her mother was with them. ^Shut up ! ' she says. 
^Don't be a fool!' But nothing she could say 
would stop him. Well, when the baby come they 
thought she'd go. When they brought her to, they 
went to look for him and there he was— he'd 
hanged himself. And what do you know, she took 
some poison. Now if he'd only waited a minute, 
that needn't 'a' all happened. Well, thank God, 
we can come out on deck and breathe again." 

The Baroness walked up and down with a long, 
lugubrious-looking Pole with visionary blue eyes 
and high cheek bones. He looked delicate and 
sensitive and the lively little Baroness was the first 
person who had noticed him. He'd been quite 


seasick. He'd only managed to crawl up now and 
then. She was chattering to him. 

"Could you commit suicide? If I had to take 
my choice between committing suicide and living 
forever, Pd have to take living forever! When 
my father wouldn't let me marry my first hus- 
band, there was then a moment when I thought 
Pd rather die than lose him. That taught me a 
lesson. Oh, how I used to look back when I was 
in Moscow giving music lessons, taking care of my 
husband when he had a cold and tonsilitis, which he 
very often did and which he invariably got by run- 
ning around with other women. I used to sit down 
and laugh. Tor Heaven's sake,' my husband 
would say, Vhat are you laughing at? If there's 
something funny, tell me.' But I'd sit and laugh 
and laugh until he'd be out of patience and to 
punish me he'd turn his back on me, lying on the 
sofa with his back to me. 

" ^If you think you're punishing me,' I'd say, 
^you're mistaken. I'd just as soon look at your 
derriere as your face!' And I'd laugh again and 
I'd be laughing about the time I'd thought of com- 
mitting suicide for his sake! Oh, it would seem 
so funny, so funny! All I had to do when I was 
[ 241 ] 


depressed, was to think of how I had once wanted 
to commit suicide for that man.'' 

She sat down near Mrs. Hassenberg, who looked 
very lovely in her fur coat and little fur toque. 

^^You see/' she said gayly, "Pm going to be like 
the young girls. Pm going to have an affair. I've 
found a -flirt. There's no doubt about it, I'm not 
happy unless I've a man around. From my 
earliest childhood, I've always had men around. 
Since the storm I've become a nun. Now I've un- 
earthed this pleasant young man and no one will 
take him from me because he speaks nothing but 
Polish. And there are no Polish girls running 
loose around the boat. I'm talking about you," she 
said tapping him on the arm coquettishly. "I'm 
going to be very piquant. I can talk to you and I 
can talk to my friend and neither one can under- 
stand what the other one says! " The Pole smiled. 
He was glad to have this funny little creature 
with her mascaraed eyes notice him. He had been 
frightfully lonely, and he had failed to make the 
acquaintance of any of his countrymen whom he 
liked. Most of them were people without educa- 
tion. Except for the money sent by their relatives 


they would have gone third class. They ate dis- 
gustingly. He'd gotten to feel that he was a 
specter and almost invisible. He had stumbled 
around the lurching ship, looking in vain for some 
one to make him a signal that they saw him. And 
ever since the suicide he had been frightened. Sea- 
sickness had made him a little light-headed. He 
felt no thicker than a cloud and he could imagine 
himself being blown out of the door and being 
swept out over the rail. He smiled at the American 
woman who was like a ripe beautiful fruit and had 
kind eyes. 

"Maybe you can tell me," said the Baroness, 
"what I can do to keep my money from my hus- 
band. Ever since I've inherited my money things 
have not been the same between us. Before that, 
he was a sweet devoted young man. He was not 
unlike you, you know, except perhaps, you are a 
little older. He said to me at once: 

" ^Now I can go into such and such a business. 
All Pve needed was a little capital.' 

" ^Oh,' I said, ^that's nice. Where are you going 
to get your money?' He stared at me. 

"^Haven't you inherited some money?' 


" ^Yes, IVe inherited some money/ I said, ^but 
what has that to do with you?' 

^^ ^Do you mean to say/ he said, growing angry, 
^that you will not loan me this money for my ad- 
vancement — ^for our advancement?' 

" ^My darling Stanislas,' I said, ^I love you pro- 
foundly. I'd do anything on earth for you, except 
let you fritter away my money.' He began to stut- 

" ^Frit-frit-fritter?' and I began to laugh. That 
made him angry and he became insulting. What 
a quarrel we had! That was the beginning. As 
for my son, I know he's making debts as fast as he 
can with the hope that to save him from dis- 
grace, I shall pay them. But I shall not. When 
he comes to me and says he's going to blow his 
brains out unless I settle his debts, do you know 
what I shall answer? Blow!" 

Moe Rapp was walking alone, looking for Pou- 
poulie. She was walking alone on the deck and in 
her turn, looking for Maurice Stengel, who as the 


journey had gone on reminded her more and 
more of her consumptive sweetheart. In the flurry 
that had followed the suicide, Maurice had talked 
to her quite a long time. She could see that he 
was very tired of Fritzie and Trudchen. It had 
begun as an adventure. It had gotten burdensome. 

She sat, covered up in a deck chair, imagining 
how pleasant it would be to have Maurice kiss 
her gently. She spent a great deal of the time in 
such day-dreams and she planned how she would 
tell him about her seduction. She had already told 
this story to five different people and with more 
intimate details each time. 

"Pve thought about you a great deal," Moe said. 
"How have you been? Isn't it awful about the 
poor fellow who jumped overboard. Horrible! 
I know how he felt!" 

"Oh, I was terribly frightened myself the other 
night," said Poupoulie. Moe wondered how he 
would bring the conversation round to the subject 
of her room when it was empty. "He's a nice fel- 
low. Too bad he's married," thought Poupoulie. 
"It would never do to have a flirtation with a mar- 
ried man. I should feel very badly about it and 
[ 245 ] 


SO would he. I wonder what possessed me to let 
him come to my stateroom?" 

"When one is frightened, one will do any- 
thing," she said. "Only fancy. A second after 
you left, one of the Lithuanians came in after all." 

"I thought you said that they never came 
down," said Moe hastily. 

"You can't trust them," Poupoulie replied. 
^^Now they pop in and out all the time." The back 
of her mind was inventing a tete-a-tete with Mau- 
rice Stengel. To keep them away from dangerous 
subjects, "Where were you," she asked, "when that 
poor fellow jumped overboard? Did you see it?" 

"No," Moe said, "I was asleep. The motion 
of the vessel — it made me terribly sleepy and for 
once I could lie down in my stateroom." 

A shuffle-board game had begun and one of the 
girls called to Poupoulie to take a hand in it. On 
the other side they were playing deck quoits. A 
precocious child was playing on the piano with 
iron fingers, while her entranced relatives listened. 
Moe, now at loose ends, made another turn of the 
deck and ran into the woman from Gary, Mrs. 
Perry, who had spoken to him on the first day 



and shocked him so. Now he greeted her like 
an old acquaintance. 

"Well, where have you been?" he asked. "I 
haven't seen you for days." 

"Where have I been?" she answered ruefully. 
^^IVe been in my bunk. Seasick, almost since the 
first moment, before the storm. I thought I was 
going to die. I didn't care whether I was going 
to die or not. You could have taken me and 
thrown me right overboard. I'd never have noticed 
you. And we're just as far from America as when 
I went under." 

"Oh, we've gone a little ways." 

"Seven days more," she said. "Two more days 
because we've had head seas and head winds." 

"You told me that you were going to have a 
good time on the boat," said Moe meaningly. She 
looked at him sideways. In spite of a slight pallor, 
she was splendid with her solid body and her shin- 
ing braids of hair. Her eyes had a jewel-like 
quality, searching and enigmatic. 

"It's not too late," she said, "is it?" 

"You said, yourself," said Moe, "there's just as 
much time as there was before." 
[ 247 ] 


"Hang it all," thought Moe, "there's no need 
of being a Puritan. You never know what may- 
happen to you next. Look at the poor fellow who 
fell overboard!'' 



The sea was shrouded in fog. It surrounded 
the vessel, impenetrable, gray, mysterious. Every 
few moments the noise of the siren blared shatter- 
ingly. The repeated noise of the siren put Mrs. 
Hassenberg's nerves on edge and filled her with 
apprehension far beyond that aroused by the storm. 
Then she had been uncomfortable, but safe and in- 
closed. Now she felt impending disaster. The 
blast followed her down to the saloon where Pou- 
poulie and Maurice Stengel were sitting. Trud- 
chen watched them while she talked to a German- 
American boy, named Shuber, who had just re- 
covered from seasickness. He was smartly dressed 
in American fashion and was more American than 
any of the American passengers. When Mrs. Has- 
senberg sat down he left Trudchen without cere- 
mony and entered into conversation with her. 

"Horrid voyage, isn't it?" he ventured. 

"Yes," Mrs. Hassenberg agreed. 

"Terrible lot of rubes. It's very different going 

[ 249 ] 


over. Then you get a nice crowd second cabin — 
Americans. Most of these ought to have gone 

"I suppose so/' said Mrs. Hassenberg vaguely. 
"Were you frightened in the storm?" 
"No," said Mrs. Hassenberg, "I wasn't." 
"You know the American doctor, he rooms 
with me, my, but he was scared. In a funk. He's 
scared in the fog. He woke up in the middle of 
the night when the whistle began. ^Jees,' he said, 
that's that?' 'Shut up!' I told him, but he 
wouldn't shut up. He said, 'Jees!' about every 
time it went off." 

"I hate the fog whistle," said Mrs. Hassenberg. 
"I just hate it. I came here to get away from 
it and it's worse. I feel trapped. I feel as if I 
were in a cage down here." 

"Well, let's go out and walk," he offered. 
"Who's that girl?" he asked as they passed Elsa. 
"She's my roommate, Elsa Holweg." 
"My, she's pretty," the boy said. "I thought 
she was married to that young fellow she goes 
around with?" 

"No, she's not," Mrs. Hassenberg spoke non- 

[ 250 ] 


They had all been worried about Elsa. Mrs. 
Murray had lectured her on piety and virtue. She 
was going to be married and she was a lucky girl 
to have a husband at all. From all Elsa had told 
her the man was a good man. She should beware 
of Christiansen — he was married — 

"Don't worry about me," Elsa begged. "We're 
going to land soon and then we won't see each 
other any more. We're just boat friends." 

"Well, I just wanted to warn you, my child," 
said Mrs. Murray so kindly that Elsa was dis- 

"Mercy," said the Baroness, "why don't you 
leave the poor child alone? She's got little 
enough, hasn't she? Poor little cabbage, if there 
was any way out of it, I'd advise her to run away 
with Christiansen!" 

"Run away!" said Mrs. Murray. "You're jok- 
ing." She had been thinking lately that there 
was something odd about the Baroness. 

"Heavens," said the Baroness, "what's life with- 
out love? I think it's a godsend that the poor 
child has met some one attractive." 



"Listen," she said as she joined Elsa on the 
deck, "don't pay any attention to that old hen, 
Mrs. Murray. It's all very well for her since she 
has exactly what she wants for a husband and a 
very nice sweet old man he is too. Yes and get- 
ting him at an age when she might well have 
given up the idea of ever marrying! What luck 
for her to marry a nice old man who's sure to die 
soon and leave her lots of money! What luck! 
Go on and talk to Mr. Christiansen all you want 
to. If you want to see him after you land, I'll 
ask you both to the house and then you can go off 
with him anywhere you like." 

"I shan't probably talk to him any more. He's 
angry with me." The Baroness had tapped Elsa's 
arm coyly. 

"Lover's quarrel!" she said with a smirk. 
"Lover's quarrel! Ah, there's my sweetheart!" 
The Pole was wandering in a rather lost fashion. 
He had a pale face and pale hair with red whiskers. 
His mouth was very red and moist. 


The vessel seemed under some enchantment, as 
if chained always to one place. People loomed 
immense in the fog. A few steps and you couldn't 
recognize them. They would be swallowed up in 
the gray mist. The procession on the deck resolved 
itself into a ghost parade. To Elsa it had an un- 
natural and menacing look. She leaned over the 
rail and looked at the churning water. The sea 
was smoother than it had been at any time during 
the voyage. 

"What made me quarrel with Christiansen?" 
thought Elsa. "Why did we quarrel? What 
about? What did I care if he talked disagreeably 
about the people I like?" Now it seemed madness 
to her to spoil an hour of the few left them. Chris- 
tiansen had been harping away on Mrs. Murray 
and the Baroness as usual when anger had risen up 
and flooded Elsa. 

"Why do you spoil our happiness," she de- 
manded, "by criticizing people who are quite as 
good as you? Kind and simple people seem ter- 
rible to you, because they do not share your ideas. 


Yet you talk to that old doctor who lets himself 
be fondled perpetually by the two widows, horrid 
old man!" 

"He's intelligent, at least!" grumbled Christian- 

"Yes, patches of skin scaling off and he has a 
bad eye. He looks at people as if they were 
naked." Suddenly Christiansen grotesquely saw 
the people in the smoking-room as though without 
clothes, the mountainous Mrs. Pincus; the valiant 
old warrior, Mrs. Donovan, Mame, Poupoulie, 
with her feet splayed outward. 

"What are you laughing at?" Elsa said viciously. 
Without meaning to, Christiansen blurted out, 

"I was thinking what Poupoulie would look like 
without her clothes!" Elsa stared at him. Her 
heart had suddenly contracted with jealousy and 
disgust. "I didn't mean to say that," said Chris- 
tiansen. "It was disgusting." He began con- 
tritely. And then some devil made him say, "No, 
I'm not sorry! For Heaven's sake, what's the 
matter with thinking how people look when they're 

"I think it's low," said Elsa in a voice that was 
muffled with anger. 

[ 254 ] 


"Low?" said Christiansen. "Why is it low? 
What is there low about the human body? Only 
filthy minded people think that!" 

"Oh, I'm filthy minded! " Elsa exclaimed. 

"You know I didn't mean that," said Christian- 

"I won't talk with you," said Elsa and she had 
walked away. 

It had been absurd and ridiculous and incom- 
prehensible. But for a moment she had been so 
consumed with fury that she could not help de- 
stroying everything between them. She had ap- 
parently succeeded. She hadn't seen him again. 
She had even told Christiansen, when he had tried 
to follow her that she didn't want to talk to him 
any more. Each separate revolution of the engine 
seemed to contract her heart. Every time the en- 
gine throbbed, "Nearer, nearer, nearer!" Soon the 
voyage would be ended. 

These few remaining hours were all they had — 
their entire wealth and she had squandered it. 
Why? She didn't know. She did not know that 
they both had been harassed and exasperated be- 
cause they had no solitude, or privacy. They were 
lovers, condemned to have only a moment alone, a 


furtive kiss behind a boat. Always the imminence 
of an officer or another passenger, while before 
their eyes the girls like Poupoulie and the other 
picture brides went down boldly to the men's 

Elsa fluttered around the deck, looking for 
Christiansen. "I must see him," she thought. 

Gottlieb was walking up and down with Captain 

"Nasty fog," he threw at Elsa. He put his 
hands over his ears as though to shut out the noise 
of the mournful siren. They walked around the 
deck. Shadows going through the mist. Shadows 
mufiled in rugs in the chairs and Christiansen no- 
where to be seen. 

Elsa went into the smoking-room. Christiansen 
wasn't there. Mrs. Rivers was propped up against 
the side of the vessel. She was talking her very 
bad German to Grandma Grube who sat there, 
white hair, pink face placid. 

The old lady never changed. Her placidity ir- 
ritated Elsa. It was stupid never to change, 



never to be anything but cheerful. It was like 
eating pink candy all the time to be with people 
like that. She thought of Christiansen with his 
quality of swift anger, his swift indignation, his 
impatience with everything that was low. She 
loved it. She was suflFocated without him. The 
thought of being with any of these other people, 
talking with any of these other people, seemed un- 

The siren hooted out its lonely warning noise. 
It shivered through the smoking-room. The stew- 
ard came in. People called for beer. The mo- 
ment was unimportant, without emphasis. Men 
playing cards. Women at their eternal knitting. 
Slack intermittent conversation, the smell of beer, 
some one at the piano playing an old-fashioned 
tinkling German melody, "Kommt ein Voglein 
geflogen," yet Elsa knew that this moment was for 
her eternal. She might forget everything on the 
ship, she might forget every other moment, but 
she would always remember this especial instant in 
the smoking-room. The lonely cry of the siren, 
the bored and vaguely apprehensive people, the 
smell of beer and the tinkle of the piano. This 
[ 257 ] 


moment was graven within her together with 
especial emotion with which it was freighted — the 
desperation of her love for Christiansen and her 
blind search for him. 

The moment held a sort of fascination which 
Elsa found as difficult to break through, as if she 
had been imprisoned within the confines of the 
smoking-room, held there as though by a magnet, 
unable to move. She knew that Lefty was watch- 
ing her and suddenly she met his eyes and smiled 
at him and nodded. This seemed to be her per- 
mission to depart. The siren hooted again as she 
went out. 


The dark corridor of the boat seemed intermi- 
nable as Elsa ran through it on her way to the sa- 
loon. The priests and the sisters sat primly 
around. Mrs. Heflinger played patience. People 
were at the desks, as usual, writing their intermi- 
nable logs of the voyage. It had an empty, unused 

No Christiansen. Now Elsa was convinced that 
he had gone into the third cabin as he sometimes 

[ 258 ] 


did. She made her way there. She had not been 
in the third cabin since the day of the fight, but the 
little girl with whom she had been talking recog- 
nized her and wanted to talk with her. That was 
one of the unbearable things, too, having people 
stop her to say meaningless things to her. It was 
as though her heart beat perpetually, "Hurry, 
hurry, hurry! No time to lose." 

She searched the decks again and mounted to the 
boat deck. She thought she saw him, capless with 
his plume of bright hair blowing in the wind, his 
gray sweater high around his neck, his face fresh 
colored. It was as if actually he had appeared to 
her out of the fog and then before she could catch 
him, he was gone. 

"I'm going to begin at the beginning of the ship 
and work backward," thought Elsa. It was a 
ridiculous thing to do. It seemed as if she would 
never come to the end of the ship, corridor after 
corridor, deck succeeded deck. Sometimes she had 
to dive into a corridor, and out on the deck again. 
Finally she arrived on the forward deck. There 
were huge capstans, enormous chains, the mast, all 
melting into fog. 

[ 259 ] 


Elsa had the sense of some one following her. 
Always the sense of some one slipping along just 
at the other side of the barrier of fog. When she 
finally got to the prow of the ship, she could see 
some one standing there. It was Lefty. 

"It was you!" she said involuntarily. 

"Yes, signorina. You don't give me much of a 
chance to talk to you." His blue sweater was 
pulled up around his neck. He had on a gray 
cap, and gray clothes and his chin was blue though 
he had shaved not long ago. In the fog his 
shoulders looked more enormous than ever and his 
arms longer. 

"Don't be angry with me. Listen to what I 
have to say. What difference does it make to you 
if your sweetheart doesn't like me?" 

"You have no right to call Christiansen my 
sweetheart," Elsa said, but she spoke gently. "We 
are travel acquaintances, just as you and I are." 

"No," he said, "signorina, I know better than 
that. I have clear eyes. I'm in love, you see. 
I've told you this before. And so I know that 


you're in love. I know also that you're in a des- 
perate situation. Your sweetheart has a sick wife 
and children in Germany and you have to be mar- 
ried to get off the boat. And I — Pm in equally 
bad shape. I don't know what's the matter with' 
me. I'm not used to feeling this way about any 
one. I wait hours just to have a glimpse of you. 
I wake up in a sweat and remember that you're 
going to be married as soon as you get off this 
boat. I lie and stare into the darkness ready to 
tear things." He spoke with a quiet violence but 
with such sincerity that Elsa murmured, 

"I'm sorry." 

"Listen," he said, "I've asked you to marry me 
before. I meant it then. Why don't you do it? 
Marry me," he said, "then you can go to Chris- 
tiansen. Just marry me and I'll make no objec- 
tions. You can leave me as soon as you want to. 
I won't contest the divorce. Will you?" 

"This is absurd," said Elsa. 

"You don't understand. Don't you understand 
— you can go and join him a^ soon as you marry 
me? You can live with him as his wife. Who'll 
know the difference? Hundreds do such things 
every year. Not a soul in America knows him, not 

[ 261 ] 


a soul knows you. You see, it's so simple. Do it 
and we all will get what we want." 

"Why do you want to do it?" 

"It's the only way I can get you," said Lefty, 
^4f only for a little while. I know I shan't stay 
like this though I feel as if I were going to. I 
can't imagine a day coming when I shan't want you. 
I've heard people rave and talk. I've never be- 
lieved them. Now I know they were right. It 
wouldn't be any worse to marry me than the fellow 
you're going to. You're going to marry some- 

Elsa and Lefty walked in silence back to the 
,second cabin. He walked alone, his hands in his 
pockets, looking at Elsa with the expression of an 
anxious animal. Elsa stared ahead of her. She 
felt a certain liking for him and at the same time 
a horror. He had opened a door of magnificent 
possibilities. For the first time Elsa saw any fu- 
ture for herself and Christiansen. Christiansen 
and the voyage no longer ended together, while 
her life went on and on. Lefty oflFered her a solu- 
tion. Just marry Lefty. 

"Think it over," he said. He left her leaning 
over the rail, looking out into the fog. 
[ 262 ] 


Presently the Baroness came trotting up to her. 

"Elsa, my dear/' she said, "why don't you do 

"Do what?" said Elsa. 

"Finko's told me about it," she said. Elsa made 
a gesture of annoyance. 

"He has no right — " she began. The Baroness 
put up a forefinger. Her black glove was shiny 
and white on the inside and the fingers were too 
long for her. 

"He told only me. He knows Pm your room- 
mate. Believe me, my dear, one of the few things 
in life worth having is one's beloved when one 
wants him, no matter what disillusion you may 
have afterwards. Just think, you would have had 
your romance ! " 

"It's impossible, of course," said Elsa. 

"Why is it impossible?" the Baroness grasped 
Elsa's arm. "Why, my child? All you owe the 
man who sent for you is the money for your pas- 
sage. That can be arranged. There may be some 
formalities. They'll probably tell you it can't be 


done. But youVe fallen in love. It's like some- 
thing in a story!" 

"It's very generous of Lefty," Elsa murmured. 

"Generous?" her shrill cackle made people turn. 
"Generous? Oh, my dear, he gets what he wants, 
doesn't he?" 

"Oh!" said Elsa. She flushed. "Oh, I see." 

"The beast! " she thought. She thought of him, 
his head lunged forward, his long pendulous arms 
and his soft eyes in which there was no malice but 
great cunning. More than ever he seemed like 
a creature walking on its hind legs. 

"I couldn't do it!" she said in a panic. "I 
couldn't do it! I couldn't! I couldn't!" Her 
voice rose up. 

"Don't be foolish!" said the Baroness. "Here 
you are going to marry a very uninteresting 
middle-aged man who can have no possible attrac- 
tion for you and you're not in the least upset be- 
cause you're going to have to be his wife and here's 
this young Italian who's very attractive, my dear! 
and I can assure you he's been attractive to any 
number of women. Look at the girls on the boat 
all ready to throw themselves at him. Look at 
Mrs. Murray, even, so excited about him she al- 



most had hysterics! Look at Mrs. Rivers! Yes, 
and look at me! I find him an attractive young 
man, a very attractive fascinating creature. And 
if you told the truth you'd say that you found him 
so, too. I saw you the first day you were with 

Elsa couldn't deny this. It was something 
deeper than that, that made this whole thing hor- 
rible. It was Lefty's hideous ingenuity. There 
was the shock, too, of realizing what he meant. 
As he talked to her Elsa had believed him disin- 
terested. He had made his proposal in such sim- 
plicity, that she actually hadn't understood it. Like 
the majority of men, Lefty was very proud of 
himself as a lover. In the back of his mind was 
the thought, "I'll give her such a good time she 
won't want to go!" 


The Baroness went back into the smoking-room. 
"Did you talk to her?" said Lefty. 
"Of course, I talked to her," said the Baroness 

"What did she say?" 

"I left her thinking." Lefty called a steward. 
[ ^^S ] 


"What'll you have?'' he asked. She considered 
and finally ordered a creme de menthe. 

"She hadn't understood what you meant," the 
Baroness continued. 

"What you mean?" said Lefty. "Hadn't un- 
derstood what I meant?" 

"She hadn't understood that you — ^well, that 
you really wanted her for your wife," the Baroness 
said, looking at him from under her penciled eye- 

"Well, fer the love o'— !" said Lefty. "Why, 
/ tole her about it. I says, ^Now, we'll all get what 
we want,' I says." 

"She thought you were disinterested," the Bar- 
oness murmured. 

"Aw, come off!" said Lefty. "She knew what 
I was getting at, aw ri'. She was jus' kiddin' you, 
see? She'd like to make you think she wuz inno- 
cent. Gee, ain't I tole yuh I ast her to marry me? 
Before the storm I ast her. Before dat fellow 
Christiansen ever lifted her off me. I didn't lose 
no time, see?" The Baroness sat lost in thought, 
thinking of Elsa and her problem and the two 
men fighting over her. She thought of the Pole 
with the red lips. 

[ 266 ] 


"For very little," she thought complacently, "I 
could have two men fighting over me. Wouldn't 
it be funny," she thought, "what if I were to 
divorce my husband? And marry this one? At 
that, I think this one would be easier to manage 
and he probably makes more money. But Stanislas 
is so sweet. What a joke on him though if I were 
to walk off — and not come back. And he wouldn't 
be able to get a passport, most likely, a-ha! But 
some day I shall be sure to go back. My boy 
would call me. A mother's heart!" She sighed. 
She crossed over to the Russian brides. 

"Ah, my dears," she said, "yours is not the 
only romance on this boat. You know my room- 
mate, Elsa Holweg? The girl with the great 
dark eyes and lovely profile?" They nodded. 
"Well, you know the two young men that were 
fighting about her?" said the Baroness. "Did you 
see them fight?" 

"I didn't see it," said one, "but I heard about it." 

"Well, it's the most romantic thing in the world. 
Lefty Finko wants to marry her so that she can 
then run away with the other one! Now I 
shouldn't have told you," she said coquettishly. 
"I don't know how I happened to. It just popped 



out, but it won't make any difference, because 
you're Russians and she's German and you speak 
no German!" 

The two little Russian girls stared at the Baron- 
ess with their round red mouths open. 

"He wants her to marry him so she can — !" 
said one. 

"Oh, what an awful thing! " said the other. "Is 
she going to do it?" 

"Of course not, Vanya. What a terrible thing. 
Sell yourself to one man so you can have another 
man ! " 

"But if you were anyway marrying a man you 
didn't know?" They broke into heated argument. 

"I would rather marry a man I knew even a 
man like Finko, than a horrid old fellow I didn't 
know!" cried Vanya. 

"It's the strangest proposal of marriage I ever 
heard," said the Baroness. "What a proposal!" 

She sat down beside Mrs. Donovan and told her 
the story. 

"Look at them," she said nodding toward the 
sisters. "They're fighting about it. One of them 
says Elsa'd be selling herself if she married 
[ 268 ] 


Finko." Mrs. Donovan looked down on the little 
Baroness with calm majesty. 

"I warrant you think she'd be romantic if she 
married Lefty Finko so she could run off with an- 
other woman's husband, but she wouldn't be ro- 
mantic — she'd be rotten," she pronounced. 

Elsa stood leaning over the water for a long 
time. The water close to the boat was ice-green 
with white bubbles on it. She felt weak and sick. 
She had a curious liking for Lefty and at the same 
time a shuddering disgust as if truly he were an 
animal. In some way she felt guilty as if she were 
his accomplice to something, as though she were 
a party to a monstrous plan. Discussing it with 
the Baroness had put it into the realm of reality. 
As long as she and Lefty walked along in the fog 
and only they knew of it, it seemed pure fantasy. 
Now there it was a definite proposal. Take it or 
leave it. Finally her tired mind refused to think 
about it any more, she stood empty and vacant 
staring at the water. 

[ 269 ] 


There were footsteps behind her and there was 

"Where have you been?" he demanded. 
"Where have you been?'' He put his arms around 
her and kissed her. "I've looked for you," he 
said, "everywhere. All day I've been looking for 

"I've been looking for you," said Elsa. 
"I went in the smoking-room, the decks, I've 
looked in the third cabin, everywhere!" 
"Did you go clear out front?" asked Elsa. 
"Yes," said Christiansen. Elsa buried her face 
in his coat. 

"I did too. I went everywhere you did," said 
Elsa. "Everywhere. While you were in one 
place I was in another." Perhaps, who knows, 
they'd been a few paces apart one in front of the 
other, running hither and thither, looking, looking 
and never meeting, searching for each other with 
anguish. "We would have found each other if 
either one or another of us had stayed still for a 
moment." It struck Christiansen as profound wis- 
dom. He kissed Elsa again. 

"What's the matter with us?" he demanded 
angrily. "Why did we quarrel?" 
[ 270 ] 


"Oh, it was my fault," said Elsa. "I don't know 
what ailed me." 

"Come," said Christiansen, "let's go to the boat 
deck. There'll be fewer people there. Maybe we 
can be quite alone for once." 

It was damp on the top boat deck, and lonely. 
The boats, covered with canvas, hung in their 
davits. For a long time Christiansen stood with 
his arms around Elsa, kissing her slowly. 

"Elsa," he said, "Elsa, how am I going to leave 
you? I can't do it!" he cried with agony. "We 
can't say good-by to each other, can we?" 

Footsteps. The young third officer spoke into a 
boat with a complaining voice. 

"Please," he said, with exasperated patience, 
"get out of there. You know you're not allowed 
in there." Over the side of a boat Moe Rapp's 
head craned like a turtle. His face was bright 
red. "Say, I don't know what you fellows are 
thinking to be getting into the boats when you 
know you shouldn't," the third officer complained. 



Directly after dinner, people began practicing 
in the smoking-room for the ship's concert. There 
was quite a good deal of musical talent on board. 
The Pole played the violin like a master. There 
were several excellent pianists. The Russian girls 
sang folk songs charmingly. People that had 
never been heard of emerged to sing or play. 
The fog horn continued to blare its long shatter- 
ing note into the singing. After the singing, the 
ship's musicians came in as usual for the evening 
concert and dancing. They played in the first 
cabin for dinner and they played later in the 
second cabin. 

Meantime, a whisper about Lefty's proposal 
had traveled around among the ship's company. 
The Russian girls spoke no English, but their 
husbands, who were American citizens, did. In a 
slow underground way, the story went from one 
to another. It was not an explosion like the news 
of the Stengel boys, that went rippling with 
laughter around the ship. It had a slower and 
[ 272 ] 


more painful progress. The story held greater 
elements of tragedy and suspense. 

People in the smoking-room were watching the 
door for Elsa and Christiansen. The Baroness 
and her Polish friend watched. The Russians 
and all their group who had discussed the matter j 
the Lithuanian with the red beard who had heard 
about it from the Russian husbands. The Lithu- 
anian's wife had now recovered. Pale and frag- 
ile, she leaned back against the cushions of the 
smoking-room. Elsa and Christiansen didn't 
come. Gottlieb who was playing chess with the 
doctor had an uneasy sense of waiting for Chris- 

"Where in the dickens has he stowed himself? 
He's going to get in trouble with that girl yet," 
he fumed. For he could hear Mrs. Pincus saying 
to Mrs. Murray, 

"Hm-m, Mrs. Murray, your young beautiful 
roommate, where is she? Away with Mr. Chris- 
tiansen? Such a handsome young man, such a 
fine-looking young couple! Hm-m, what a pity 
he's married already!" 

"She's a good girl," Mrs. Murray declared. 


"And she's very innocent. It's hard to realize a 
man is married when you see him away from 
home like this. I trust Elsa, Mrs. Pincus, indeed 
I do!" 

"Hm-m," replied Mrs. Pincus. "Why don't 
they come here and dance? Outside you cannot 
see your hand before your face. Where are they?" 
she asked aggressively. 

"They may be playing cards in the saloon. It's 
quieter in the saloon." 

"It's their habit to sit in here in the evening," 
said Mrs. Opp in a cross tone. 

Christiansen and Elsa were still on the boat deck. 
They crossed to the other side of the boat while 
Moe Rapp and his companion scrambled out of the 
life-boat and went below. It was very damp and 
cold and presently it grew dark. Cinders from 
the smokestack fell upon them in showers. But 
it was solitude. It seemed to Christiansen glorious 
for he had not known any suffering like that of 
his few hours' estrangement with Elsa. He had 
been bewildered and baffled and now that they 
were again reconciled, he felt he could not let her 



He lay awake that night trying again to find 
some way out. "What if I should disappear? 
What would happen? What if Elsa came away 
with me?'' He would send money back to his 
wife. Why not? He played with the idea. It 
got to seem more and more possible. After all 
hadn't he done his duty by his wife always? And 
wouldn't he go on doing his duty by her? Well, 
what about Elsa and his duty to her? 

"Elsa." In his mind he spoke to her as though 
she were with him. "Would you come with me, 
Elsa?" he asked her. "I could take care of you." 
All the things that had seemed so impossible took 
on an air of plausibility. What was going to stop 
him? He was sure that she was lying awake, her 
mind preoccupied with the same questions. "No 
one would know she wasn't my wife," he thought. 
America seemed to him limitless now. Like hun- 
dreds of thousands of people, before him, Chris- 
tiansen felt as though he would be beginning a new 
life and the old existence faded into dreams. 

He was right about Elsa. She was lying awake 


too, going over all the events of the day. It had 
seemed as if the curtain of fog had dropped upon 
her whole life and to-morrow she would be going 
into a new existence. A thought came to Elsa as 
if it had walked into her mind by itself and taken 
possession of her. 

^^Pll do it. Pll do what Lefty says?^ It was as 
if it had come about not by her own volition but by 
some process of nature, such as growth. She felt 
tranquil and composed as though now all the ex- 
citement of doubt had passed away. 

The people in the lower berths dressed first, in 
the upper berths afterwards. The Baroness, mak- 
ing her mouth red, looked across at Elsa and said 

"Are you going to?" Elsa answered with warn- 
ing quiet, 

"I don't know." She wished again that Lefty 
hadn't told the Baroness about it. 

Christiansen was waiting for her. They 
dragged their chairs into a corner. The day was 
gray and quite calm, the horizon misty. It was 



cold. Elsa was pale and tranquil and her eyes 
looked large as though she had slept little. 

"Listen," she said, "Lefty has asked me to 
marry him." 

"You told me," said Christiansen indifferently. 

"I don't mean that time. Yesterday when I 
was looking for you, he followed me into the 
front of the ship." Christiansen said nothing, but 
waited. "He's seen, of course, that we care for 
each other. He told me that he would let me 
divorce him right away." 

"Pm sorry you had to listen to him," said 
Christiansen, bitterly. He was furious that he 
couldn't protect Elsa from things like this. He 
was furious with Lefty that he dared to go near 

"I've thought about it all night," said Elsa. 
"I'm going to tell him that I shall be willing. — It's 
the only way," she added. 

"You mean," said Christiansen, "you mean that 
you would be willing to go with that man as his 
wife if you could come to me afterwards?" 

"Yes," said Elsa. A pity that was greater than 
his love welled up in Christiansen. Her innocence 
seemed to him now as boundless as the sea. 
[ 277 ] 


"You don't know what you're talking about," he 
said gently. 

"Would it be any worse from what Pm plan- 
ning to do?" asked Elsa bleakly. 

"Why, yes," said Christiansen. "Why, yes. 
Don't you see this would be in a way like letting 
you go on the street for me? There's baseness — 
all three of us. We would be like Lefty. You and 
I — and Lefty lying there between us." Chris- 
tiansen rose up with a gesture as though he would 
like to pull the heavens apart. "God," he said in 
a voice that he tried carefully to control, "God, I 
would like to break that man's neck! God, I 
would like to pitch him into the sea! That he 
should dare, to you — to a girl like you — infamy! 
God, to think that I can't beat him up. There 
would be no use in it. It would only be to adver- 
tise everything he has done." 

"You mean you wouldn't have me, if I did," 
said Elsa in a low tone. Christiansen sat down 
again and took her hands in his and disregarding 
the promenaders, put his arm around her. 

"Poor little Elsa," he said. "My poor little 

Tears slid down Lisa's face. She attempted to 



control them} her face quivered with the anguish 
of her effort. Her pitiful face and the sliding 
tears broke Christiansen's heart. There was a 
child-like quality of desolation in Elsa's crying that 
he could not bear. 

"Don't, little Elsa," he said. "Don't," and he 
spoke like a very much older man, as though a 
generation separated them. An anguish of disillu- 
sion wrenched Elsa. 

She pushed Christiansen gently to one side and 
hid her face in her hands and sobbed with awful 
silent sobs. His kindness and his pity had been 
worse than anger. Oh, if he could have cursed 
her, if he could have stormed at her and told her 
she was a bad woman, but he could only feel pity 
and kindness. Only anger with Lefty though she 
had been Lefty's accomplice. 

She had been willing to go with Lefty. She 
would have gone through with it. She knew she 
would. She had not realized what Christiansen 
would think. He had said it was like a woman's 
going on the street for one. And it was. He 
tried to draw her hand from her face. 

"Elsa! " he implored. "Elsa! Don't do that! " 

"It's all over," she said. "It's over. It's all 


over." And he could answer nothing. Then he 
heard her crying to herself. 

"Horrible! Horrible!" as if she saw a living 
horror. He knew that she had imagined herself 
with Lefty, that with her hands before her eyes 
she had lived through the supreme sacrifice and 
that the flesh upon her bones crawled with disgust. 

He wanted to stand between her and her own 
thought, he wanted to take this dark and bitter 
knowledge from her but he could not. It was as 
if Lefty had effected some possession of her and 
had come between them forever. Weak with pity 
and impotence, Christiansen listened to Elsa, her 
voice repeating over again and over again, 

"The horror!" 

Christiansen watched Elsa helplessly, thoughts 
drifting swiftly through his mind. Lefty had 
put himself between them. Lefty had closed the 
door on the future. The night before, Christian- 
sen had imagined Elsa leaving her husband to live 
with him as his wife. He had seen it not only as 
a possibility, but as a reality. He had been ready to 


put his hand out boldly and say, "Come, let's dare 
this! Let's take from life what happiness we can." 
It had all seemed possible. Now it had faded into 
a dream and from dream to mirage. 

Lefty had taken the future from them. He 
had taken even the present. Now, when Chris- 
tiansen looked at Elsa he would never be able to 
forget Lefty. She had become Lefty's in thought, 
so she was Lefty's and Christiansen felt toward her 
a sullen anger. 

His anger hurt him. He did not want to feel 
this way. She hadn't known what she was saying, 
he told himself. Vivid as a flash of sunlight on 
water, a picture of Lefty came to him. The ob- 
scene, leering animal who for some reason had been 
kindled by Elsa to love. He could think just how 
Lefty leaned against Mrs. Perry's firm rounded 
legs. His hands as though by themselves were 
always straying over the shoulders and arms of 
women as though independent of Lefty they lived 
an ardent and sensuous life of their own. Chris- 
tiansen had noticed the caressing of Lefty's hand 
when Lefty had danced with Elsa and it had made 
Christiansen murderous. He knew she felt his 



blame and his anger and that she was weighted 
by it. 

"Don't, Elsa," he said again as she wept hope- 
lessly, as though there were no end to her tears, 
as though she were going to cry her life away. 
"Don't let this spoil the little while we have to- 
gether." She lifted her eyes to him, the tears still 
sliding down her face. 

"It's spoiled," she said. "Go away, Christian- 
sen. I want to be by myself." She spoke with 
gentle desolation, even more unbearable to him 
than her tears. 

"No," he said. "I'm not going. I shall not 
leave you for a moment if I can help myself, until 
I leave you for good." His mind was over- 
whelmed with the strangeness of women. 

"Could she have forgiven me," he thought, "if 
I had let her do it? How in her secret heart she 
would have hated and despised me. And maybe 
not. How mixed up we are! Why is this so ter- 
rible to me and why does it seem a sad thing for 
her to do, but honorable, that she should be going 
to marry a man whom she has never seen? Why 
should I be so horrified?" 
[ 282 ] 


Mrs. Rivers and Mrs. Darrow were walking 
briskly around the deck together. 

"The poor young lady ees crying," said Mrs. 
Darrow, in her exaggerated French accent which 
every one had told her was so piquant. "I wonder 
wot ees ze matter?" 

"What's the matter with your little roommate, 
Baroness?" asked Mrs. Rivers, stopping where in 
a sheltered place the Baroness and her Pole were 
on the eternal subject of how to keep the Baroness' 
money from her husband and her son. 

"Is my Elsa crying?" said the Baroness, lifting 
her black-rimmed eyes to the two women and 
thinking that Mrs. Darrow had a very fine make- 
up. "And why shouldn't she," she thought, "she 
has always lived where she has been able to get 
all the cosmetics in the world! And where have I 
been? In Poland! And things frightfully ex- 
pensive, too!" 

"She's crying as if her heart would break and 
her young man beside her, not knowing what to 
do about it." 



"So-o!" said the Baroness. "I think I know, I 
think I know. It's just like a man! He won't 
let her marry Lefty. A man will take another 
woman away from her husband — ^what does he 
care about a husband? That's funny! But he'd be 
too proud to take her away from Lefty! I wonder 
I never thought of it. But why should I think of 
such a foolish thing?" 

"Won't let her marry Lefty?" said Mrs. Rivers. 
"Does Lefty want to marry her?" For some rea- 
son it seemed funny to her that Lefty should want 
to marry any one and she began to laugh silently 
to herself while the Baroness told the story of 
Lefty's proposal. 

"Can you see any sense in this?" the Baroness 
concluded. Mrs. Darrow considered. 

"It's like a man," she said. "You can never tell 
what a man will think a woman shouldn't do. But 
it's so. If a man proposed to me that I should 
sleep with another man so that I could then sleep 
with him, it would revolt me. So you can see 
the other side of it — how a man would be re- 
volted." The Baroness beckoned to Gottlieb. 

"What's your friend, Christiansen, doing to our 
Elsa to make her cry?" 



"How should I know?" he said. "He never 
talks to me about Elsa. If I speak of her he 
glowers." Poupoulie came along with one of the 
Trachner girls. Since she started her flirtation 
with Maurice Stengel, Trudchen and Fritzie had 
become angry at her, and the other picture brides 
sided with them. She was the plainest of all of 
them, in spite of her large roving eyes, so they 
could not forgive her for doing better with men. 
^ "Christiansen and Elsa are sitting over there and 
Elsa is crying and I think Christiansen is, too. 
What's the matter with them?" 

She had her arm slipped through one of the 
Trachner girl's, for as soon as she had seen that 
the other girls were drawing away from her, she 
had quickly made friends with some new people, 
who had appeared since the storm. 

The Trachners had been below or huddled 
wretchedly in corners of the saloon until now. 
Mrs. Trachner had two grown daughters and one 
little girl of about fourteen. They were whole- 
some, red-cheeked girls, simple and well brought 
up. The older girls played duets and were getting 
ready to play for the ship's concert. They were 
delighted to be feeling well again and ran around, 



making friends with anybody j Poupoulie was hav- 
ing a fine time telling them all over again about 
her aunt and her sweetheart. She did not know 
whether she had better tell Charlotte Trachner 
about her seduction or not. 



"What are you going to wear to the costume 
ball?" the Baroness asked Elsa. 

"I haven't thought," said Elsa in a stubborn, 
dreary voice. She had avoided all her roommates 
for the last days. She and Christiansen had re- 
mained together, isolated in their own misery. 

In a few hours, they had made an adjustment to 
each other that in real life might have taken weeks. 
They loved each other now as people do who have 
suffered together. Elsa had seemed at first beau- 
tiful to Christiansen, as girls do to sweethearts. 
She had seemed beautiful with the recklessness of 
complete innocence. Everything about her marked 
her away from all other women he had known. 
The way she held her head, her brown face with its 
long scarlet mouth, her swing as she walked, her 
brown thin hands. 

Then he had seen her pitiful, ashamed, ready 
for his sake to defile herself in his eyes and in her 
own. For these things he loved her the more, but 
desperately and broken-heartedly. They clung to- 

[ 287 ] 


gather as people do who have made each other 
suffer and who have forgiven each other. Elsa 
now seemed to Christiansen close to him and need- 
ing him, removed by a cycle of experience from 
the Elsa he had first known, radiant and shy and 

As they sat together, their chairs drawn aside, 
the world of the second cabin flowing past them, 
Elsa had been conscious that the Baroness had been 
hovering around their isolation. Lefty she hadn't 
seen again. He was clever enough to know that he 
mustn't speak to her now and that if she wished 
to speak to him she would do it. But always 
she had felt the Baroness ready and waiting, burst- 
ing with benevolence and with curiosity. She had 
adopted Elsa, taken her on and now finally she 
had caught her. 

"You mean you haven't thought of what you're 
going to wear, even yet?" said the Baroness. 
"When the costume ball is to-night?" 

"No," said Elsa. The Baroness shook her head 
and looked at Christiansen, who had walked away 
and was staring out to sea. She shook her head 
again, as though to indicate, "Poor things! Poor 



^^PU tell you what to wear," she said brightly. 
"The Stengel boys are making white dominos out 
of sheets and so are all the other boys and girls. 
You see the idea — nobody will be able to tell any 
one apart, all dressed in the same sort of costumes! 
Anybody will be able to duck in any one else's 
cabin! If you and Christiansen dress like them, 
no one will know what you do?^ She looked mean- 
ingly at Elsa. "Pll attend to everything," she 
said, patting Elsa on the shoulder. "Pll get your 
costume ready." 

The familiar feeling of having been despoiled 
crept over Elsa. Even the dignity of grief was not 
permitted her. They could not even have their 
tragedy for themselves. Always and everywhere 
were the bright, prying eyes of the Goods and the 
bright eyes of the Bads. For a fantastic moment, 
she saw themselves as the center of the ship and 
everywhere about them, eyes and more eyes. With 
the resignation of fatality she knew that she and 
Christiansen would wear the white dominos made 
of sheets. It would be the easiest thing to do. 
Like Poupoulie, the picture brides, the woman 
from Pittsburgh, the commercial travelers and the 


Stengel boys, they would wear the uniform of the 

"Joe's gonna go as a pirate,^' said Mame. Mrs. 
Donovan looked with majestic contempt at her 
daughter, across her high stein of beer. 

"What else would he go as?" she said. 

"He's going to paint his nose red and put black 
court plaster over his front teeth and a piece over 
his eye. And he's got a sash from one of the Rus- 
sian girls. However was he talking to one of the 
Russian girls, Ma?" 

"Don't ask me," said Mrs. Donovan. Her eyes 
were on Captain James Hurley, who was talking 
to Mrs. Hassenberg. "Jimmie Hurley's going to 
get tight to-night," she announced. 

"How do you know. Ma?" 

"I've seen it coming for some days," said Mrs. 
Donovan. "Don't ask me how I know things like 
that. I can feel it like old Miss Todd's father, 
who was a sea-captain, could feel the weather. He 
could feel a storm comin' days beforehand. I can 


feel sprees comin' a long ways off. He hasn't 
drunk nothing all the way over." 

"If it hadn't been for him, Joe would have been 
tight all the time." 

"Joe would not/' said Mrs. Donovan. "Cap- 
tain Hurley's goin' as a ring-master, in riding 
boots, a red ribbon acrost him and a top hat — he'll 
look handsome. He's the only man who looks like 
a man on the whole boat to me. He's the only 
good-looking man there is, Mame." At that, she 
turned her attention away from Mame, as one 
might switch off a light, and contemplated the mas- 
culine beauty of Captain James Hurley. 

There was sympathy and understanding between 
the two. Mrs. Donovan looked back over the 
years to the moment when she had been slender 
and beautiful. She knew with certainty Captain 
Hurley would have been, as the saying was, taken 
with her. Now she would have welcomed him as a 
son-in-law. She glanced at Mame with pity and 
with contempt. A lump of a girl. For all the 
world like her father's sisters. It could not be. 
"But she's a good girl," she thought, loyally, "and 
she'll marry a good man yet, please God." Her 
eyes rested on Captain Hurley again and she said 


With somber satisfaction, "He'll show 'em to- 

"I think I'll wear a white domino/' said Mame. 
"They say the girls are going to wear white domi- 
nos. They make them out of sheets." 

"Wellj why not that?" said Mrs. Donovan, in- 

When Elsa went into her stateroom, the Baron- 
ess was saying to Mrs. Hassenberg, 

"Turn your tunic upside down, stick your feet 
through the wide armholes and then gather it 
around your waist. That'll make lovely Turkish 
trousers. And then just wear that little bolero. 
You have such a lovely bust. Perfectly beautiful." 

"And what shall I wear in between?" said Mrs. 

"Oh, something diaphanous. Something chiffon 
that won't cover you much and then that shell pink 
negligee that you have with the fringe — make a 
turban out of that. Just wind it round and round 
your head and let the fringe hang down. Oh, 


look, beautiful! Beautiful! Look, Frau Mur- 

"Wunderschon!" crieH Frau Murray enrap- 
tured. She had been undecided whether she 
should dress herself like a sister of charity. 
"Would it look right," she said, "with sisters 
aboard to go to a costume party as a sister? I can 
go as a mendicant lay sister of the middle ages. 
No one could object to that. With a knotted rope 
... a knotted rope is easy." 

The Baroness ran around making people up, ad- 
justing something here, putting a shawl on there. 
She turned Mrs. Hassenberg around. 

"She's my masterpiece!" she said. "Why have 
I not done this all my life?" she cried. "Getting 
people ready for costume balls ... a fantastic 
costumiere! For a costume ball is like nothing else 
in the world — especially a masked one like this. 
You become somebody else. You become anybody 
you want!" 

Captain Hurley was dancing with Mrs. Hassen- 
berg. He had had several swift drinks. All the 


way over he had led a quiet and serene life in the 
huge and majestic shadow of Mrs. Donovan, 
From time to time, memories of his strange flight 
from Germany rippled perturbingly through him. 
Now, dressed as a ring-master with the well-being 
of a man whose good looks have never been dis- 
puted and who therefore does not think of them, 
with several drinks within him, he felt himself 
raised to a higher power. He felt strong, adven- 

Suddenly his eyes fell on Mrs. Hassenberg and 
he saw that she was peerlessly beautiful. The 
only other woman on the boat who had attracted 
him was Mrs. Darrow with her frankly sensual 
face. He had realized from the first that he must 
choose between her and Mrs. Donovan. He had 
chosen Mrs. Donovan. His eyes roved over the 
company and he saw another handsome woman. 

"Who is she?" he thought. She looked to him 
as familiar as though he had known her all his 
life. He couldn't place her. And then with a 
shock, he realized it was Mame, made up with 
dark eyebrows, her hair covered with a bright 
handkerchief, loaned by one of the Russian girls. 
Mame, as a gypsy was suddenly handsome. The 
[ 294 ] 


Baroness had realized her possibilities. She had 
elongated Mame's eyes, she had covered her oily 
complexion with a vivid make-up. It was Mame 
as the Lord should have made her, who with 
beauty, attained a sudden vivacity. "I ought to go 
and dance with her first,'' thought Hurley and then 
he went and danced with Mrs. Hassenberg. 

The saloon was decorated in bunting. People 
had on colored shawls, bright dresses, stuflFs that 
glittered and shone, until there was an illusion of 
richness, a flame of color. Suddenly with make-up 
and disguised with little black masks, commonplace, 
slovenly, raw-boned girls looked mysterious and al- 
luring. The older men and women sat around the 
sofas on the edge, thinking of the masked parties 
they had attended when they were young. 

Every one was dancing in their own fashion. 
The Russian girls, dressed in brilliant shawls, bead 
necklaces, their heads tied up like peasant girls, 
danced elaborate dances together. German boys in 
their white dominos clumped around, whirling 
their partners, sweating. The Pole danced with 


one of the Lithuanian girls. They could not speak 
each other's language but they danced together 

In the midst of them, Captain Hurley and Mrs. 
Hassenberg danced, as though they had done noth- 
ing else all their lives. They had not spoken to- 
gether all the way over and now suddenly they 
were united. Each looked at the other with eyes 
that said, "Why haven't I known you sooner?" 

People stopped dancing to watch them. Finally 
they were the only people on the floor. The or- 
chestra leader nodded to his musicians. They kept 
on playing. They danced on alone, oblivious of 
everything except each other. 

Suddenly a small figure detached itself from 
the crowd. But for its scarlet slippers it was 
dressed in silver tissue and a veil was drawn across 
its face, under which one could see vaguely the 
painted cheeks. Only the eyes looked out, dark 
and startling, the penciled eyebrows almost meet- 

With delicate exaggeration, she followed the 
swaying rhythm of Captain Hurley and Mrs. Has- 
senberg. Exquisitely, mockingly, she accentuated 
their dance. Lightly, lightly, she followed them. 

[ 296 ] 


What was it about her that was a burlesque? It 
was hard to tell. Captain Hurley met her eyes 
over the shoulder of his lovely companion, chal- 
lengingly. The musicians played faster and still 
she followed them. Suddenly the dance ended, 
with a crash of drums. 

Captain Hurley picked the little, glittering 
dancer up and held her high in the air, and perched 
her on a table, while the company roared with ap- 
plause. She sat there swinging her slender feet. 
The men crowded around her, men in costumes and 
men in white dominos deserted their partners. 

Elsa who had been dancing with Christiansen 
suddenly recognized that this was the Baroness, 
who for a moment had snatched back her youth 
and with an air of one who says, "I know how 
quickly youth goes and how little it's worth." 

She slipped down from the table, and danced 
across the floor, beckoning, while the men followed 
her. Lightly, lightly, she ran along through the 
corridors, while the costume party unrolled itself 
like a banner and ran after her. It was a paper 
[ 297 ] 


chase, a will-o'-the-wisp hunt. These heavy, dull 
people had suddenly become light. They had be- 
come inflammable and their excitement spired high 
as they unfurled themselves down the corridors, 
following the bright moving figure. The proces- 
sion unrolled itself into the smoking-room, circled 
around and then out again and back through an- 
other corridor into the saloon. 

"Who is that?" asked Gottlieb. "Who is that 
at the head of them?'' 

Gottlieb and Dr. Grimm were sitting, playing 
chess. The doctor with infinite wiles had escaped 
from Mrs. Pincus and Mrs. Opp, who were dressed 
as Turkish women. He had left them downstairs 
in the saloon and had drifted away as though only 
for a moment, while he joined Gottlieb in the 
smoking-room, as he had told him before dinner 
he would. 

"That?" he said. "That's the Baroness! Ex- 
traordinary! Biologically the woman is young. 
Her youth is masked by wrinkles and an absurd 

"It's the excitement of the moment," said Gott- 

"She has youth," the doctor asserted, "for 
[ 298 ] 


either your cells, your glands, your arteries are 
young or they are not young. And there are some 
women who retain their youth extraordinarily. 
The man who finds the reason for it will find an 
everlasting fortune. Though to me it's a frightful 
prospect to contemplate a world inhabited entirely 
by young women." They started on one of their 
long philosophical discussions, which to them was 
an alternative for chess. 

It was as if all the stifled desires for gayety and 
pleasure of these starved people boiled up and 
overflowed in a transforming tide. Elsa and Chris- 
tiansen were caught in it. They became part of 
the dancing and running crowd. 

As if following some signal, all the white domi- 
nos detached themselves from the rest and burst 
out of the smoking-room and scattered themselves 
over the decks. It was cold outdoors. They raced 
around, changed their partners with shouts and 
screams. As suddenly as they came out, they 
popped inside. Now the decks were empty. The 
[ 299 ] 


clear cold February sky arched high above them 
and the stars shone distant and very bright. 

"Wait here/' said Christiansen, "and PU bring 
some coats for us." 

They went out on the boat deck. They stood 
looking at each other with the small black masks 
they had bought at the barber shop covering their 
faces, their white clothes hanging down gro- 
tesquely beneath the coats which they had put on. 

Elsa could feel the deck swaying slowly beneath 
her and the mast making an arc across the stars. 
She wanted to tell Christiansen that she felt as if 
the spurt of gayety, of abandon, had to do with 
the immensity of the world and with the stars 
themselves. But she did not know how to tell him 
this. Then she knew there was no need to tell him 
anything. Suddenly, the grief and torment of the 
past days had melted away. Suddenly the answer 
to all their difficulties came to Elsa and filled her 
as if with light. It was so simple. She wondered 
why she had never thought of it before. 

"Christiansen," she said, "Pw not going to 

"What do you mean?" he asked. 

"I mean I don't have to marry any one but you. 
[ 300 ] 


IVe got to go back. I can't marry any one else, 
now. Can't you see that?" Christiansen could see 
this clearly. To him it seemed also the solution. 
Yet he said, 

"I can't let you do that. I can't let you make 
such a sacrifice." From her high pinnacle of hap- 
piness, Elsa said, 

"Don't use such a foolish word as ^sacrifice.' 
How could I after this, have any one but you?" 

It was a moment of solemn betrothal. They 
stood clasped together under the cold bright stars. 
For though Christiansen was a radical, he was 
German and he was sentimental. Elsa had recap- 
tured her purity and her beauty in his eyes. 

Down in the smoking-room, the party was at a 
point of exploding. There was a feeling of satur- 
nalia in the air. It seemed as if soon these danc- 
ing, swaying people would put aside all restraint 
and that something tremendous must happen. The 
masked party had become a riot. 

Dominating it all was Captain Hurley. He 
danced now with Mrs. Hassenberg, now with the 


transformed Baroness, now with Mrs. Darrow. 
Now and again, he would cut in among the white 
dominos and take which girl pleased him. Lefty 
sat down beside Mrs. Donovan. 

"There," said she, nodding toward Hurley, 
"that's the way the men got drunk in the old days. 
There's a grand sight for you. Tight as an owl 
and never losing his feet! There's a man!" She 
smiled reminiscently, while memories of mighty 
drinking bouts floated through her mind. "This 
isn't the end of him to-night," she stated propheti- 
cally. "It's going to go on and on from here." A 
shadow darkened her face. "Go and find Joe for 
me. Lefty," she said, "and see if he's passed out 
yet." She remembered having seen Joe wabbling 
past with another white domino not long before. 
And she had remarked to Mame, "It won't be long 

Her eyes rested on Mrs. Rivers and Mame who 
were sitting with some masked men, dressed in eve- 
ning clothes. 

"Now where did they come from?" she said. 

"They don't look like any one I've seen." Mrs. 

Rivers was dressed as a Spaniard. She wore a 

mask also, and a high comb. Like the Baroness, 

[ 302 ] 


she had dropped ten years. She was a little tight. 
Masked, she didn't mind this. She had relaxed 
her gentility and she flirted with the men in eve- 
ning clothes. Mrs. Darrow joined them. 

"I bet they're from the first cabin," thought 
Mrs. Donovan, watching the group narrowly. "I 
wonder why Mame can't look like that always." 
Captain Hurley had stopped to ask Mame to dance. 
Usually self-consciousness made her feet heavy. 
Now for a brief moment, her costume and her 
paint had taken her self-consciousness from her 
and she felt full of power as her mother had 
done as a young woman. It was an intoxicating 
feeling. She lifted her face invitingly to Captain 
Hurley. "Now look at that!" exclaimed Mrs. 
Donovan. "Now look at it — and to-morrow she 
won't be able to say ^Boo! ' to a goose. Not ^Boo! ' 
to a goose! And Joe with no legs to him when 
he's drinking. What's the matter with the young 
folks nowadays!" 

The music stopped. Captain Hurley with a bow 
handed Mame back to Mrs. Donovan. He stood 
[ 303 ] 


balancing himself before her with a grand air. 
Tight, he was magnificent. Ireland of the old 
days come to life again. In a bland tone that had 
yet an edge like that of a sharpened knife, he re- 
marked to Lefty, 

"It seems to me that some of our ladies are 
missing! " The table where the Baroness and Mrs. 
Darrow had been drinking was vacant. Mrs* 
Rivers sat there by herself and only by her exag- 
gerated refinement could any one have told she was 
a trifle under the weather. 

"Say,'' said Lefty, "where d'yuh suppose they're 

"My friend," said Captain Hurley, "a rescue 
is necessary! The ladies have been abducted!" 
Moe Rapp came past asking as he went, 

"Have you seen Poupoulie? Do you know 
where Poupoulie is?" Mrs. Donovan jerked her 
thumb upwards. 

"Gone to the first cabin with the others," she 

"Abducted," amended Captain Hurley, "to the 
first cabin. Exposed to the vices of the rich!^ 
Something must be done!" 

"I knew it! " Mrs. Donovan addressed the world 

[ 304 ] 


at large. "I knew he was going to bust up some- 
thing! I seen it coming!" 

"Come, my friends. Duty calls usT'' cried Cap- 
tain Hurley. "Let's get the red-bearded Lith- 
uanian — he's been dying to go berserk all the eve- 

"Oh, Captain Hurley," said Mame. "Oh, Cap- 
tain Hurley! What you goin' to do?" 

"Oh, shut up!" said Mrs. Donovan. "He's 
goin' up in the first cabin to bust open somebody's 
head with a bottle! That's all he's goin' to do! " 

Word flew around among the dancers that there 
was a fight in the first cabin over the second cabin 
ladies. Excitement reached its height. Presently 
the Baroness and Mrs. Darrow scuttled in, laugh- 
ing and chattering. 

"What happened?" every one asked. 

"A fight!" cried the Baroness. "Captain Hur- 
ley was wonderful! He threw the first cabin men 
we were with through the door." The crowd sur- 
rounded them. The fight in the first cabin be- 
came something tremendous. It grew and grew 
like a soap bubble. The second cabin had come 
up and rescued its women in the first cabin. It 


had fought for Its women in the first cabin. The 
second cabin was delighted. 

Then suddenly the party went flat. The people 
put aside their masks. Stewards moved around 
with refreshments. The small inadequate explo- 
sion had blown off the steam of the second cabin. 
A sense of frustration hung in the air. They had 
wanted an orgy and they had not dared. The 
second cabin would never dare an orgy. It would 
always take its vices surreptitiously. Even in its 
highest moments of abandon it would have the re- 
straints of a world of small shopkeepers. The 
older people who were sitting around the room, 
the true Goods, drifted off to bed. They alone 
had been satisfied, they and Captain Hurley and 
the Baroness. 



The Baroness yawned and stretched her arms 
upward. She popped up suddenly from her berth 
like a jack-in-the-box to look at Mrs. Hassenberg, 
who was lying quietly, her beautiful eyes open, 
her beautiful arms folded under her head. 

"Oh,'' she sighed, "I love costume parties! It's 
been such a long time, such a long time since I've 
had one, I can hardly remember when. Not since 
the war, anyway. Didn't you have a good time?" 
she said. 

"Yes, I had a nice time," said Mrs. Hassenberg. 
As she said it a doubt pierced her through and gave 
her the sensation of something sharp having trans- 
fixed her heart. Who, she wondered, was Captain 
Hurley? Why had he suddenly been so attentive 
to her? He was an officer. Maybe he was an In- 
telligence ofiicer. Maybe he wanted to find out 
about her. Maybe he'd always known her papers 
were not in order. For the first time, she had a 
distinct feeling she was nearing land and that the 
Immigration authorities were casting an invisible 
net about her. 



- -'— — 

He'd been so sympathetic the night before, too, 
and told her how he had to go home. She had told 
him that that was homesickness j and she had con- 
fided in him how homesick she had been. She 
remembered her very words: "I had to go home, 
whether my papers were in order or not. I had 
to come. They can't keep me out, can they?" she 
had asked him. ^^Not when I'm an American citi- 
zen born and did so much war work for such an 
important firm?" 

"Never was I so surprised in my life," went 
on the Baroness, "as when Mr. Rapp came for 
Poupoulie. Were you?" 

"What?" cried Mrs. Murray. "Mr. Rapp came 
for Poupoulie? The nice Mr. Rapp who's going 
back for his wedding anniversary?" 

^^ Dressed in a white domino V^ said the Baroness 
mysteriously. "Every one who didn't want to be 
recognized was dressed in a white domino." 

"Oh," said Mrs. Murray, "the way they 
changed partners! The way they went in and out 
of staterooms! I went to bed early. I couldn't 
stand it! But could I sleep? I dressed and sat in 
the smoking-room. But Mr. Rapp — ^who would 
have thought it?" 

[ 308 ] 


^^You're a diflFerent person when you're dressed 
up at a costume party," said the Baroness. "You 
change your personality. That's why I adore cos- 
tume parties. How marvelous to be some one else 
besides oneself even for a few hours. Look at 
Captain Hurley. Think how quiet he's been all 
the way and think of him last night, flinging people 
around the first cabin smoking-room! Why, you 
could imagine him snatching the stars right out of 
the sky!" 

"I can't get over Mr. Rapp!" said Mrs. Mur- 

"He felt different too, I suppose," said the 

"No, my dear," said Mrs. Murray. "He 
planned it beforehand — to go in a white domino!" 

Elsa lay there listening to the conversation as 
if she were in another world. Her happiness 
seemed to her so miraculous that she wished to 
communicate it to her friends. She would have 
liked to have told them all about her momentous 
decision, — exploded this piece of news among them 
[ 309 ] 


and seen their eyes turned toward her. Then she 
thought, "Pd better not tell them. Everybody 
will be asking me questions about it if I tell them. 
When Lefty proposed to me, the Baroness told 
everybody on board ship," and she remembered 
how she felt the ship had been full of eyes staring 
at her. 

She felt happy and at peace. A little later when 
she met Christiansen he treated her as if they had 
both died and gone to Heaven and they were meet- 
ing in the Elysian fields. Now they were isolated 
from the ship's company by their happiness as be- 
fore they had been isolated by their grief. No one 
noticed them very much. Scraps of the party of 
the night before were flying around the ship. 
People were re-hashing last night's scandal with 
gusto. The scandals grew like the magic bean- 
stalk. They became great, significant, gargantuan, 
with Moe Rapp and Captain Hurley, two former 
Goods, as the heroes. 


Elsa sat down beside Grandma Grube. The 
old lady had gone down and looked at the costumes 


with delighted eyes and then she had gotten sleepy 
and gone to bed early. 

"I didn't see you last night/' she greeted Elsa. 
"Where were you?" 

"Oh, I was around," Elsa replied. 

"Why, my child, how pretty you look to-day. 
You look as happy as if you had just taken your 
first communion. What's happened to you?" 

"I've decided to go home again," said Elsa im- 

"You decided whatV^ cried Grandma Grube. 

"I've decided not to marry that man I don't 

"Why ever not?" said Grandma Grube. "And 
not land in America?" 

"I don't want to marry a man I don't know," 
Elsa repeated. "I'd rather go back to Germany." 

"Nonsense, my child," said the old woman. 
"You don't know what you're talking about! This 
knowing one's husband before one's married is 
only a very recent invention. For centuries the 
world got on beautifully without young girls hav- 
ing any say in their marriages, whatsoever. And 
a very good idea, too, I think!" 



The Baroness joined them. "What are you two 
talking about?" she asked, genially. 

"Here's Elsa who says she isn't going to land," 
said Grandma Grube indignantly. 

"Not going to land!" said the Baroness. 

"Not going to marry!" said Grandma Grube, 
Elsa sat silent. Her secret was out. 

"What a horrible thing to come all this way and 
then turn back! Does Christiansen know about 
this?" the Baroness demanded. 

"Yes," Elsa admitted faintly. "Yes, he knows." 

"And approves," said the Baroness with sar- 
casm. "It takes a good man to be really selfish. 
Shocked to death, of course, because you thought of 
marrying Lefty and now perfectly willing for you 
to make this sacrifice for him. I suppose he thinks 
it's beautiful!" She went over to Gottlieb. 

"I suppose you've heard the news. Your room- 
mate has persuaded Elsa not to land at all! If 
he can't have her, he isn't going to let any one else 
have her. I think he should have run off with 

"I suppose that's what you want me to persuade 


him to do/' said Gottlieb, but the Baroness had 
gone oflf, carrying her precious news with her. 
Gottlieb looked compassionately across at Elsa. 
"How grateful we should be to them," he thought. 
"They furnish us our one small thread of ro- 
mance. In another day and another setting this 
could have been a tremendous story.'' He felt the 
need of imparting this philosophical reflection to 
Dr. Grimm. 

They both sat looking at Elsa and speculating 
about her. She knew by instinct of what they 
were talking, but she didn't care. Prying eyes 
made no difference to her any more than if she 
were dead. Indeed, when they landed it would 
be a species of death. 

Christiansen and Elsa had become the core of 
interest. No one paid any attention to the affairs 
of the others. For once the Goods held the in- 
terest of the ship. People sighed over Elsa's love 
and Elsa's loftiness and thought about their own 
early love affairs. For a moment Romance had 
triumphed over scandal. Among her roommates, 
Elsa had become a heroine. People disputed 
fiercely whether she and Christiansen had had an 



"It's queer," said Mrs. Donovan, "you can feel 
the land coming nearer.'' She looked with her un- 
alterable tranquillity at Mrs. Rivers. 

"I don't," said Mrs. Rivers. "I feel as if I had 
always been here and I feel as though I was always 
going to be here in a sort of limbo. An ocean voy- 
age always seems to me like a punishment for sins." 

"I've enjoyed the beer," said Mrs. Donovan. 
"I've enjoyed myself." 

"How can you say that. Ma, what with me with 
my vaccination and Joe getting full on us?" 

"I wasn't full," said Mrs. Donovan, calmly, 
"and I didn't have no vaccination." 

"And what with suicides and storms!" said 

"There's soocides everywhere," said her mother, 
"only they're not quite so close to you." 

"But having a suicide close to you or not makes 
all the difference in the world to me, Ma!" 

"Well, I shall miss the beer," said Mrs. Dono- 
van. "Shan't you, James?" 

"And the company, too," Captain Hurley said. 



It was true. It had been a peaceful moment for 
him after his spiritual turmoil. 

"I don't see how you feel the land — in spite of 
the sea-birds and the vessels we've seen. I'm 
sure hardly any one else does." Mrs. Rivers 
looked around the smoking-room. People sat as 
if they had always been there and as if they always 
expected to be there. 

The world of the second cabin had solidified. 
Now every one knew every one and every one's 
business. Life as they had lived it before seemed 
remote, vanished behind an impenetrable veil of 
passing days and the life to come in another coun- 
try, problematical. Even the round circumference 
of the horizon gives the illusion of eternity to life 
on shipboard. 

So they sat when Lefty threw open the smoking- 
room door and called out: 

"Say, Doc! You can see Nantucket lightship if 
you come out!" 

"What did he say? What did he say?" echoed 
in a dozen tongues, but every one knew instinctively 



what he had said. The shining distant light had 
shattered the second cabin world forever. 

Every one flowed out on deck. The game of 
Scott stopped. Mrs. Pincus reared herself up and 
plowed like a hasty hippopotamus through the 
crowd, eager for a sight of what meant land. 
Gottlieb and Dr. Grimm forgot their philosophy. 
Moe Rapp and Poupoulie tightly clasped in each 
other's arms in a dark corner stampeded to the 
rail. This beacon which flickered red near the 
horizon was the end of the world. 

It was the end of the world for Elsa and Chris- 
tiansen. One person after another broke into their 
solitude to scream excitedly, 

"Have you seen the Nantucket lightship? Have 
you seen the lightship?" There, only a little way 
over the horizon was land. It meant a new life. 
It was home. They tried to remain insensible to 
it, but Christiansen knew that only a few hours 
separated them from Fire Island. To-morrow 
morning they would slide past the low shores of 
Staten Island, then suddenly New York would 
raise itself before them. He tried to remain in 
the present. He tried to bury himself in their 
remaining night. It was impossible. In spite of 



himself, a new excitement had sprung up in him. 
He longed for the new adventure. He had been 
driven out of his family, not only by necessity, but 
by a passionate desire to escape from the responsi- 
bility of home. Thoughts of the future invaded 
his mind. He could not forget the little light, and 
whenever for a moment he almost succeeded, some 
one, passenger or officer, interrupted them. There 
was no solitude anywhere on the great ship. 

Suddenly Elsa flung her arms around Christian- 
sen and kissed him and ran from him down the 
deck and vanished within the ship. Once inside 
her stateroom, she burst into tears. The Baroness 
had come downstairs to pack. 

"My child," said, "what are you crying for?'' 
Elsa shook her head, speechless. She couldn't ex- 
plain. She was crying for too many things. She 
was going to leave Christiansen, she wasn't going to 
land. She was crying because of the vast exaspera- 
tion of the evening when she and Christiansen 
could not even be alone. 

The lights in the cabin were out. Elsa lay cry- 
ing in the darkness. From time to time a snuffle 
came from Mrs. Murray who had let every one 



know she was crying because she knew no one in 

The long ritual of landing in America was over. 
Immigration and revenue officers were satisfied. 
Quarantine officials had left the ship. The bustle 
of departure was in the air. The New York sky- 
line appeared, tremendous and indifferent. There 
it stood, the gateway of America. Newcomers 
looked at it with amazement. The homecoming 
Americans were amazed, also. They had forgotten 
this new thing that they had builded. People 
crowded to the rails. 

"There it is!" said Lefty. "Dat's us!" Mrs. 
Donovan, next Captain Hurley, looked at it with 
majestic approval, nodding her head. Home. 

Some emotional German-Americans were weep- 
ing. Excitement enveloped all of them. America 
with New York as its question mark interrogated 
the ship's company. The sight of it disintegrated 
the finely woven pattern of second cabin. They 
were only indistinguishable atoms of this civiliza- 
tion. Soon they would run into its veins, be lost and 
swallowed up in its immensities. The loves and 



hates and jealousies of the journey had no longer 
any meaning. Mrs. Pincus and Mrs. Opp spoke 
to each other for the first time since the costume 

Elsa stood with Christiansen and Gottlieb. She 
felt enormously isolated. Every one else was 
pressing forward, streaming out to America, asking 
New York to suck them in. And she was volun- 
tarily going back. Christiansen would go on. He 
would live in the shadow of the towers spiring be- 
fore her. She would go home. For what? 

She looked at the sky-line of New York and her 
own insignificance crowded in on her. What dif- 
ference would it make what she did? She looked 
at Christiansen. He pressed her hand, but ab- 
sently. The new adventure was calling him, 
stronger than he, stronger than their love. As 
though drawn on an unseen tide, Elsa slipped 
through the crowd. Lefty slid his eyes after her. 

"She'll land awri', awri'," he said. Mrs. Dono- 
van peered at Lefty as though his naivete was as 
deep as the towers of New York high. 

"Did ye ever doubt it?" she inquired. 


University of